South-South/South-East group backs Ekweremadu
THE Eastern Region Assembly, (TERA), a group of citizens from the South-South and South-Eastern zones of Nigeria has expressed worry about the protracted leadership crisis in the National Assembly and called on all stakeholders to renew their commitments “to one united Nigeria premised on social justice, economic equity, democratic freedoms, respect for cultural diversities and impartial application of the Rule-of-Law.”
In a communiqué signed by the Protem Secretary, Tony Uranta, the organisation condemned the Assembly crisis and wondered “if there really could be an issue of forgery or any offense whatsoever for any police to investigate regarding the Senate Elections of 9th June 2015” and that “without prejudice to any legal position taken by the Federal Government that any purported investigation of Senate Procedures/Proceedings by any Body/Agency other than said Senate could, at best, be seen only as undue political interference in the internal process of the Senate.”
The group also argued that the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, in a Senate with All Progressives Congress (APC) majority, should not raise any legal or constitutional eyebrows, because it is not new, unique or unusual in the politics of Nigeria, for such to happen!
According to the group, “the law is that Senators will elect among themselves, irrespective of political party, a Senate President and a Deputy Senate President, adding that that applies, also, to Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, as well as Speakers and Deputy Speakers of State Assemblies “this has been the law and practice since 1999 when we adopted the Presidential system of Government.”
The organisation also said that following this law and practice “an APP member became Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly in 1999, with a PDP majority of the membership of the House. The PDP produced the Deputy Speaker. “Before that, in 1979, Chief Edwin Umezoke of NPP was elected Speaker of the House in an NPN dominated House.
NPN produced the Deputy Speaker. Also in the Senate of that era Dr. Joseph Wayas of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was Senate President, and NPP a minority party produced the Deputy Senate President. “In this present dispensation, on the 8th day of June 2015, a day before the inauguration of the present Senate; APC produced the Speakers in Benue and Plateau State Assemblies where the PDP have majority in both Assemblies.
PDP produced the Deputies respectively in the two states. “No self-respecting pundit of Nigerian politics can claim to have forgotten that in 2014 then-Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP moved over to APC whilst the PDP was still in the majority within the House.
He retained his position because it is constitutional and usual. One remembers many praising the development as “democracy in action.” Has “Democracy in Action” developed new definitions because some powerful interest groups are not comfortable with the person or zonal background of Senator Ekweremadu?! Or, is the publicly-averred intent to negatively perceive/treat certain zones, because of voting patterns, to be taken seriously by Nigerians and other citizens of the Free World!”
TERA therefore pray that wisdom prevails, and that every Nigerian enjoys all equity rights and democratic freedoms, irrespective of ethnic background, political affiliation and religious beliefs, so that this nation can achieve its optimal greatness in peace and unity.