9th National Assembly: UPP national chairman demands Senate presidency for southeast

9th National Assembly: UPP national chairman demands Senate presidency for southeast

- The UPP national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie has appealed to the ruling APC to zone the Senate President position to the southeast region

- Okorie said such action would be a sure way of bringing the region back to the fold and diffuse feelings of marginalisation

- He also specifically mentioned Chief Orji Uzor-Kalu's experience as a legislator as a factor to consider the region

The national chairman of the United People’s Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie has appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the Senate Presidency to the region ahead of the inauguration of the Ninth Senate in June.

Okorie, whose party endorsed and adopted President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election, made the call in an interview with Daily Sun.

He said zoning of the Senate presidency to the southeast would be a soothing balm to the frayed nerves of the people of the region.

According to him, such action would be a sure way of bringing the region back to the fold and diffuse feelings of marginalisation and exclusion by the present administration.

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His words: “Any person with any sense of proportion, equity and fair play would not need to be lobbied to know that it’s just fair and equitable that the Senate presidency should go to the southeast and the speaker of the House of Representatives to the north; the northeast can have that. They already have it in Yakubu Dogara; maybe another person can now have it.”

Asked whether the Senate rules, regarding ranking would not come to play, Okorie replied: “No! As one of the APC senators-elect, former Abia state governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, is a ranking member of the National Assembly, having been a member of the House of Representatives in the aborted third republic.”

He said what is required at the moment is political expediency, as going to the very strict definition of ranking would clearly exclude a people.

“When you talk of ranking; you must consider, too, that Kalu had been in the House of Representatives. After that, he had been a two-term governor. So, there are certain political exigencies that we have to bear.

“There are certain rules that we would be strict about, then, you know, ab nitio that you want to exclude some people. After all, we have seen situations where Assistant Inspector Generals were promoted to Inspector Generals; after certain considerations.

“We have seen it in the Army, too. We saw when the late General Shehu Yar’Adua was promoted from the rank of Colonel to Major General, to be able to belong to the Supreme Military Council; for political exigency,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is planning to hijack the incoming National Assembly.

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In order to avoid a repeat of the political crisis that followed the election of the National Assembly leadership in 2015, Nabena urged the party leadership to urgently put in place an inclusive and fair internal zoning/selection arrangement to enable the APC caucus produce all its preferred principal officers for the incoming Senate and House of Representatives.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Saturday, March 2, Nabena urged President Buhari to play a lead role in the APC's internal selection arrangement for the incoming 9th National Assembly.

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