A pressure group, National Unity Group (NUG) has called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ebsure the position of Senate President is given to a south Easterner and that of speaker of the House of Representatives given to the North West.
The group in a statement by its National Chairman, Dr. Omotayo Gbadebo said “This zoning arrangement would heal wounds, end killings across the nation, entrench peace, reconciliation and stability in Nigeria”.
The Group explained that there is tension in the country at the moment as it was in 1999 when the military handed over to the democratically elected administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He therefore insisted that there is need to adopt the 1999 to 2007 zoning formula to usher in peace and douse tensions in the country.
According to the Group, ““The scenario is similar to what we had in 1999. Remember that because of June 12, the military decided to compensate the South West for peace to reign.
“Hence Alliance for Democracy (AD) was registered even when it did not meet up with the requirements and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deliberately picked a Yoruba man, Chief Obasanjo as its candidate and its vice president (Atiku Abubakar) from North East.
“When the government was sworn in, the Senate president was given to the South East (Evans Enwerem/Chuba Okadigbo/Anyim Pius Anyim), Speaker of the House of Representatives was given to the North West (Salisu Buhari/Ghali NaÁbba/Aminu Masari) while deputy Senate President went to North Central (Haruna Abubakar/Ibrahim Mantu) and deputy speaker to the South South (Chibudom Nwuche/Austin Opara).
“The PDP national chairman (Solomon Lar) was from North Central”
According to Gbadebo, “We are now saying in order to have peace, end stop the killings in the South East, North Central and compensate North West for its immense contributions to the victory of the APC, let the Senate President go to the South East, Speaker of the House to the North West, while deputy Senate President and deputy speaker be zoned to the South South respectively.
“Presently, there are mindless killings in the South East and agitations as it was in the South West, let the party give them Senate President so that they can have a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project.
For North West, it is the biggest geopolitical zone with the highest number of votes (2.9m) in the presidential elections, which is approximately 34 per cent of the total votes that gave the president-elect victory.
As such, you can't abandon this geopolitical zone with seven states.
“Therefore, for fair play, equity and morality, Noth West should be given number 4 position for the zone to have a sense of belonging in the project Nigeria, while South East should be given number 3.
Anything short of number 4 for the North West will be morally wrong and it will be tantamount to rejection or non-recognition of the zone, which has contributed more than any other zone in the emergence of the president”.
Speaking further, the Group said “We are urging the APC leadership and president-elect to as a matter of equity, fairness and stability of the nation, pay special attention to the appropriate zoning of principal offices and political positions in the next administration.
“We are very sure that if this is done, peace will return to the troubled areas in the country, some of these senseless killings will end and tension will be doused.
The president-elect needs an atmosphere of tranquility to restore hope to Nigerians. The Renewed Hope vision can only be achieved if the enabling environment is provided.
“Let no one misunderstand us; we are not saying competence and capacity be sacrificed on the altar of religion or region but Nigeria is a peculiar nation and we must be sensitive to our religious, sectional and ethnic diversities. The APC should run an inclusive government that would cater for the interest of every discerning tendency.