*campaign for Onyejeocha
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A coalition of six Arewa women groups and youth groups has thrown its weight in support for the South East to emerge Speaker of the Ninth National Assembly, pitching its tenth behind Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.
The group made its position known at a world press conference held in Kaduna on Tuesday April 30, 2019.
“We hereby declare support for Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha to be nominated and urge all independent-minded members to support and eventually elect her as the new House of Representatives Speaker in a transparent democratic process.
“We also commit ourselves to champion her course across the entire northern region and to reach out to other relevant stakeholders and like-minded groups and individuals across the the country as we see Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha as a symbol of hope for women, hope for the younger generation, hope for unity and hope for the future,” the group said.
The coalition, led by Movers and Shakers Organisation of Nigeriua and Northern Emancipation Network, said that they were driven by deep patriotism and commitment to a strong and sustainable democracy in a united, independent and prosperous Nigeria, and belief in the peaceful coexistence of all her people.
“W met today in Kaduna to assess the current controversy over the selection of new leaders for the incoming 9th Assembly and its implication on our national democratic growth and on future northern political viability in particular.
“Like many other concerned Nigerians, we note with dismay and perplexity the determined efforts by some political merchants to undermine our collective belief in the sanctity of the National Assembly, and to set the country back in its quest for national integration and progress, by needlessly fomenting disaffection among the elected distinguished and honourable parliamentarians.
“The typology of the controversy over the selection process of the new NASS leadership and the dimension it has taken of recent, are a serious cause for concern to all well-meaning Nigerians and friends alike,” they said.
They said that like most Nigerians, they are extremely worried and profoundly agitated by attempts to manipulate the process by some external forces bent on imposing their lackeys on the nation’s federal legislature to pave way for the actualisation of their individual political agenda.
“We Observe that there are underground forces that are driving these controversies and fueling tensions aimed at causing initial distrust among the NASS members, with the attendant risk of making the next four years of President Muhammadu Buhari strenuous, and setting the stage for the eventual breakup of the All Progressives Congress.
“Specifically, we are surprised that the leadership of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari are failing to see the potential risk in the trap to get them to openly endorse the adoption of candidates drawn from particular zones to the exclusion of other zones of the federation with equal entitlement,” they argued.
They further expressed that for the sake of fairness, justice and equity, they believe that the South-East is more eminently qualified for the slot of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in compliance with the nation’s federal character principle.
“And in conformity with the global demand for affirmative action, we strongly recommend that a female member of the House should be given the position.
“In this regard, after due consideration and assessment of all possible candidates from the South East, we are convinced that Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing the Isuikwato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency, of Abia State is by whatever criteria competent to take up that responsibility.
“Asides being a Right Honourable Gentle Woman which is also key as she could be a stabilizing factor, Mrs Onyejeocha happens to be one of the highly experienced legislators; an active member of the House since 2007 and core parry loyalist.
“Records show that she was responsible for several broad based motions that became laws including the Anti-torture Act 2017 (Presidential assent given on 20th December 2017), National Senior Citizens Centre Act, 2017. (Presidential assent given on 24th January 2018), Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshots Act 2017. (Presidential assent given on 20th December 2017.)
“Other important bills initiated by Mrs Onyejeocha include the National Council of Traditional Rulers (Establishment) Bill, 2015. (HB. 113) and the Witness Protection Programme Bill, 2015. (HB. 132), and the Trade Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 among several other bills with far reaching import.
“She is also a detribalised nationalist with an impressive record of honesty, steadfastness, prudence, patience and integrity to rhyme with President Buhari’s ideals,” they stressed.
The groups were represented by; RUQAYYA SANI (Movers and Shakers Organisation of Nigeria), ABDUL-AZEEZ SULEIMAN (Northern Emancipation Network), VICTORIA JOHN (Northern Women Political Canvassers) and AMINA ABDULLAHI (Arewa Students League for Justice).
Others are DANLADI UMAR (North for Peace and Unity), LYDIA LAURENCE (Network for Women Support), JAMIL BELLO (Arewa Youth Stakeholders Forum) and BALARABE RUFAI (Civic Education for Grassroot Mobilization).