A group under the aegis of South-south Emerging Leaders’ Forum (SELF) has called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to review the zoning arrangement released ahead of the party national convention slated for March 26.
The SELF in a statement signed by its national coordinator Barrister Preye Wilson, pleaded with the Caretaker Committee led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni to consider equity and justice in the zoning of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party meant for the South-south region.
The group said Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states should be given utmost priority in the sharing formula, as it noted that Rivers, Edo and Cross Rivers had all produced national officers for the ruling APC NWC in recent past.
Wilson in the statement argued that allowing Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom to also field candidates would promote unity and justice in the party.
Barrister Wilson said: “As a frontline South-south social-political organisation, we believe in justice, equity and development of our people. Our intervention in the sharing of APC NWC positions to be zoned to South-south is to ensure that justice is done to states that are yet to be represented in the party leadership at the national level.
“It is on record that Edo State has produced two immediate -past National Chairmen in persons of Chief John Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Rivers state had produced Deputy National Secretary in person of Oji Ngofa and Chief Victor Giadom, and Cross Rivers had also produced the South-south Zonal Vice Chairman, in person of Chief Hilliard Eta. All the aforementioned were members of the APC National Working Committee, leaving Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom out of the arrangement since the party was formed in 2013.
‘Officials initially offered to help but when the number of able-bodied citizens at the centre increased, they left us unattended to’
“Although the current acting National Secretary of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator John James Akpanudoedehe is from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Delta have never tasted the NWC positions.”
While calling on the APC leaders to micro-zone whatever NWC positions meant for the region to Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom, the group also called on South-south party leaders to close rank, adding that the geo-political zone will be better for it if the political leaders in the ruling party speak with one voice.
“We, therefore call on the party leaders, especially in the South-south region to see reasons why Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom should be given a fair treatment and a sense of belonging by equitably allowing them to have their own taste of APC NWC positions as the party prepares for its National Convention slated for 26th of March, 2022.
“This Forum also ask that APC leaders from the South-south should bury their differences and work in unity for the progress of our region because the Niger Delta region will be better for it if our leaders in the ruling APC speak with one voice,” the statement said.