On Tuesday, July 28, 2015 the House of Representatives reconvened and the remaining principal offices were filled, marking the beginning of full legislative business.
You may recall that the South East APC had nominated me for the post of Deputy Majority Whip; a nomination that was duly accepted by the presiding officers of the House of Representatives.
As you already know, the final position is that the South East is the only geopolitical zone that is excluded from the leadership caucus while one zone occupy two plum positions.
This is the first time we are having this scenario since 1999.
On principle, I accept the outcome of that session in good faith and sincerely congratulate the new leadership of the House as presently constituted.
I have no reservation whatsoever in their ability to steer the ship of the Green Chambers.
However in view of the realities so vividly pictured in the process of constituting the leadership of the National Assembly, I am constrained to plead with our great party the All Progressive Congress ( APC ) to review its definition of inclusiveness and rethink its perception and treatment of the South East zone.
If indeed our ideology of leadership involves, even in the minutest way, the integration of every section of our country Nigeria, then our pontification on Federal Character should go beyond lipservice and rhetorics to the practical embrace of every section of the country in the spirit of the change we have promised.
A number of persons hold the erroneous view that the APC did not have a good outing in the Southeast but every sincere Nigerian that understands the politics of the region, can attest that the party in the Southeast fought against stupendous odds and the statistics are there to prove it. Needless to mention that the region has been a stronghold of PDP since 1999.
Recall that in 2011, the Southeast states under the sway of the PDP were posting an average of 1 million votes per state which largely turned the table in favour of former President Goodluck Jonathan but in the last election, PDP in the Southeast states merely managed a paltry average that is less than half a million votes due to the efforts of the APC faithfuls in the region.
In that election, APC in the Southeast exhibited the highest level of courage, doggedness and fierce loyalty to the party; in most cases to the point of risking their lives.
As a matter of fact, if we had allowed the PDP to re-enact the feat of 2011, the story would have been different today.
Hence, the national leadership of our party should not continue to place the Southeast on the fringes in the scheme of things. As far as the Nigerian project is concerned, every region must count, if we must get it right.
All the same, I wish to place on record, the dogged efforts of His Excellency, Governor Rochas Okorocha towards ensuring that the Southeast in that instance,was not shortchanged in line with the Federal Character provisions of the constitution.
Evidently, his efforts and pleas fell on deaf ears. And the reason is simple: Each time there’s crisis or any form of instability in the country, it is always the South East and Ndigbo that make sacrifices to bring stability.
It is my considered opinion, that if it once again took sacrificing the South East/Ndigbo in the leadership of the current House to bring about this peace and stability;and by extension, progress to Nigeria, then so be it.
But I must add without any equivocation whatsoever, that the unity of Nigeria as a nation is built on the sacrifices and the blood of Ndigbo, yet, as a people, we do not have much to show for it.
Our great party, the APC can redress this. And its about time.
Thank you all and God bless.
HON. CHIKE OKAFOR
Member Representing Ehime Mbano,Ihitte Uboma,Obowo Federal Constituency
(APC, Imo Sate)
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