By Izunna Okafor, Awka
A southeast-based group, South East APC Young Progressives Forum, has called on President Bola Tinubu to give the Zone additional slot in the appointment of his cabinet members.
The group made the call while addressing newsmen in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Monday, during which it said other zones in the country had extra nominations from Mr. President, except the South-east.
The National Convener of the group, Mr. Paschal Candle, who read the text of the press conference commended the President for what he described as truly walking his talk of incorporating the youths into his government, noting that his appointments so far has shown his tilt to the youths.
He said this was the first time in a long while that the Minister of Youths Development would truly be a youth; even as he hailed the President for being a listening Leader who listened to the cry of youth Constituency when a not-so-young person was initially nominated as Minister for Youths Development.
He however said the group felt a bittersweet taste over the latest two ministerial nominations by President Tinubu. This, he said, was not because the individuals so nominated are not eminently qualified for such appointments but because of the missed opportunity by Mr. President to correct the glaring imbalance in the entire ministerial list.
The text of the press conference jointly signed by the State Coordinators and secretaries of the group read in part: “With the nomination of the Substantive Minister of Youth Development from Kwara State, the North Central geopolitical zone with six states now boasts of nine (9) ministers while the South West with six states now has ten (10) ministers following the nomination of the Minister of State for Youths Development from Ondo State.
“The South East geopolitical with five states remain the only zone among the six geopolitical zones without an additional Minister. In fact, we we have only five Ministers without any zonal representation.
“The recent turn of events shows otherwise. This is against the Principle of Federal Character and laws of our Nation. The ugly situation of this Ministerial nomination from the Southeast was formally brought to light in a motion tabled by Senator Dr Tony Nwoye, Anambra North Senatorial District and other Senators from South East on the floor of The Senate. They let Nigerians know that whereas all other zones in the country had extra nominations, yet no extra nominations for South East.
“This is clear violation of section 14(3) of 1999 constitution as amended and section 5 (a) & (b) under part 3 of Federal Character Commission Act Laws of Federation 2004 in ministerial appointment by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We also want to draw the attention of Mr President and National Assembly on Section 14 (3) of 1999 constitution as amended which provides that ‘the Composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few state or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.
“Gentlemen and Ladies, Section 5 (a) & (b) under part 3 of Federal Character Commission Act laws of Federation 2004 which also provides that “As far as practicable, the appointment to the various categories of political offices shall be done on the basis of equitable representation of the states of the federation, FCT or Zones as appropriate using the relevant formula. The political offices concerned include (a) Minister of cabinet rank (b) Ministers of State…”
“The analysis of The Ministers appointed so far by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is as follows: North West Geopolitical Zone-10 Ministers (3 extra Ministers), North East Geopolitical Zone -8 Ministers (2 extra Ministers), North Central Geopolitical Zone -8 Ministers (2 extra Ministers), South West Geopolitical Zone -9 Ministers (3 extra Ministers), South South Geopolitical Zone-7 Ministers (1 extra Minister) South East got 5 Ministers without any zonal ministers.
“We therefore wish to cry unto Mr President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu once again to find a way to remedy this glaring anomaly. This is no longer oversight, but seemingly deliberate. We understand that cabinet positions are not the only appointments, however for equity to be seen to be upheld, at least two or more additional Ministers needs to be appointed by Mr. President from the South East.
“The South East APC Young Progressives Forum humbly wants to use this opportunity to appeal to our listening President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider nominating someone from the youth Constituency in the South East geopolitical zone and person who has the capacity and capability, to fill the position of the Minister for Youths, even as a minister of State for Youth Development.
“The South East APC Young Progressives Forum therefore pleads with President Bola Tinubu to readjust this latest latest appointments and give the South East at least two additional ministerial slots for the sake of inclusion.
“This appeal has become necessary because of the need to give the South East an extra ministerial slot since it is the only zone that did not have extra ministerial nominees. The South East APC Young Progressives Forum will be eternally grateful if Mr. President heeds to our humble plea. We have within the South East APC fold, highly capable and energetic young professionals and grassroot politicians who are capable of revolutionising the Ministry of Youths.
“We implore Mr. President to choose this Minister from a pool highly qualified young progressives who can easily be found in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. We have young inspirational figures in the South East progressives fold who have distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavours.
“What Nigeria needs currently is a formula that will unleash the latent entrepreneurial and creative potentials resident in our vast population of Youths. This is the best way to renew the hope of teeming youths. There is no better region to produce a Minister that can tap this youthful potential other than the South East, which is known as a zone of relentless entrepreneurs.
“Mr. President you need a Minister for Youth who has the charisma to organise the youth in Nigeria into a massive economic resource that will power Nigeria into one of the fastest growing economy in the world in the next four years. And That Minister can easily be selected from the South East geopolitical zone.
“We are calling on the Senate President, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio to fulfil his promise when Senators from South-East drew his attention to this anomaly in which he promised to meet with Mr President and speak with him over the matter. We are still waiting for the outcome of the meeting
“We are therefore immensely hopeful and sincerely praying that you, Mr. President, will heed to our plea of nominating extra Ministers for the South-east to give the progressives in the zone, especially the young ones, more sense of belonging, and most importantly to bring vitality to the Ministry of Youths at this very critical juncture in our quest for a national renewal and economic re-engineering of our dear country, Nigeria.”