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Tension In APC Over SGF Position

Posted: Jun 15, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Joe Nwankwo (Abuja) and Emmanuel Nzomiwu (Enugu) 

There is palpable tension within the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the alleged conspiracy by some forces opposed to the appointment of an indigene of the South East geo-political zone as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Dr Ben Nwoye

Dr Ben Nwoye

Chairman of Enugu State chapter of APC, Dr Ben Nwoye dismissed reports that some APC chieftains in the zone were induced to back the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President in last Tuesday’s election, so as to deny Ndigbo of the SGF slot.

On the contrary, according to him, “the two positions are unrelated to what happened on the floor of the Senate. Many people have come up with a lot of conspiracy theories but I personally believe that Ekweremadu has the right to contest for the position of Deputy President of Senate and he contested and won.

“The right to appoint the SGF belongs to the President and he is taking his time to ensure that a square peg is in a round hole. President Muhammadu Buhari is meticulous; he declared that he was not going to interfere in the election of the National Assembly leadership. It is not good therefore to tie the non-appointment of the SGF, Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser to the internal affairs of NASS.”

However, the zone, on Sunday, accused Ekweremadu of trying to deny them the juicy office of SGF, expressing disgust at the crass and unimaginative propaganda dished out by Ekweremadu, on why he re-contested for his former office.

Speaking at his Enugu residence while hosting supporters at the Akanu Ibiam Airport Enugu on Saturday, Ekweremadu had said: “In fact, it was when we saw that it appears that the South East and South-South were being marginalized in the scheme of things, we decided to take a shot so that our people will be part and parcel of government, so that every Nigerian will have a sense of belonging.”
Reacting, Osita Okechukwu, spokesman of the South East APC, said the zone is at a loss as to why Ekweremadu resorted to playing the spoiler’s game in the bid by Ndigbo to clinch the juicy position of SGF.

Okechukwu challenged Ekweremadu to mention what he achieved for the South-East and South-South while occupying the office of Deputy Senate President under the immediate past administration of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party man, Goodluck Jonathan.

He said: “Whereas, we do not begrudge our dear brother Senator Ekweremadu for his re-election as Deputy Senate President; however it beats our imagination that the Distinguish Senator relied on gossip-terrorists in reaching the conclusion that the South East and South South will be marginalized. It is miles far away from the truth.

“We are therefore at a loss, why the Distinguished Senator should choose this auspicious moment to play spoiler game, by wittingly or unwittingly throwing spanner on our wheel to clinch the coveted office of Secretary to Government of the Federation. Pundits may grab his unintended headline that we have been settled.

“To us, without being immodest, one may amass with wealth with the office; but Deputy Senate President in real-politics is more symbolic than substantial. Otherwise why the 2014 Constitutional Conference after our brother chaired the National Assembly Constitutional Amendment twice” Okechukwu said.

He appealed that the South East and South South, especially those of the APC stock should not be denied any position due to them.

According to Okechukwu, Contrary to Senator Ekweremadu’s submission, Ndigbo will not vote for PDP again, for impunity will no longer triumph, stressing that “with President Buhari’s programme to revamp Enugu Coal, build refineries, fix our roads, improve electricity among other projects, we see the South East and South South providing the critical supplement to President Buhari’s vote bank in 2019.”

Meanwhile, some Igbo groups are insisting that there is no connection between last Tuesday’s election of Ekwerenmadu and the desire to have one of its own return as the SGF, replacing the immediate past, another Igbo son, Pius Ayim Pius.

They dismissed insinuations that some leaders of the ruling APC conspired with their supporters in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to back Senator Ekweremadu to deny the zone the slot.

Describing the breeding campaign as “hatred for Igbos about to manifest,” a source said that “the emergence of Ekweremadu has nothing to do with the need to give the Igbos a sense of belonging. In fact, this is the time for the President to appoint our own party member from the zone into a higher office.

Top on the list of those being considered is former Governor of Abia State and immediate past National Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.

Former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige, is another major contender for the post. He has been with the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria where in April 2011, he was elected Senator of Anambra Central under the party’s platform.

Another contender for the post is the current of Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha who is allegedly lobbying for former Secretary to the Imo State Government (SSG), Prof Anthony Onwuka.