South-East APC Demands Senate Presidency, SGF From Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The South-East zone of the All Progressives Congress has set its sight on the positions of Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation if the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, wins the 2023 general elections.

The development was disclosed by a top party chieftain in the South-East, who craved anonymity.

The source disclosed that a delegation was scheduled to meet with Tinubu with their demands when he returned to the country.

“If the South-West has the presidency while both the North-West and North-East are still negotiating for running mate, it is only fair to allow the South-East take the senate presidency and SGF,” he said.

When contacted, Deputy National Chairman (South) and former South-East chairman of the party, Emmanuel Enekwu, denied having knowledge of any agitation for senate presidency or SGF from his region.

He said, “I have no knowledge of such demands. The APC has not started allocating offices to any region or persons. Our interest is how to win elections because you can’t share offices without winning elections.

“We have a presidential candidate that demands that all hands must be on deck. Nobody enjoys any booty or loot before the war. That can only happen after the hostility ends.

But when reminded that sources have confirmed that negotiations were ongoing by top APC chieftains from the South-East region, Enekwu said such a move could not be ruled out.

The South-East APC chairman, Dr Ijeomah Arodiogbu, also said, “I cannot say I am unaware the zone desires some inclusiveness in the incoming administration. However, I have not been consulted on the exact position they are looking at. I believe that the incoming president will be fair enough to consider the zone for some arrangements but we have not asked for the specific positions.”

On whether Tinubu had met with South-East leaders and stakeholders lately, the South-East chairman said he met with the zonal caucus of the party.

He added, “That was shortly after the primary. He met with the South-East caucus, ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State. He (Tinubu) consulted with us and pleaded for our support at the 2023 general elections.

“We assured him that he will receive our maximum support in our zone. We had a very robust conversation with him. But we didn’t go as far as asking for any specific positions. I believe he knows the right thing to do.”

When asked on APC chances of pulling votes from the South East, he said the party had a firm support base in the zone.

“We cannot also rule out the fact that (Peter) Obi (of the Labour Party) is making a lot of publicity. Our chances are bright and will further be enhanced once Obi split the PDP votes. It won’t diminish our votes,” he added.

Caucus plans meeting

The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Anambra State, Mr Okelo Madukaife, said the South-East caucus of the party had scheduled a meeting where a decision would be taken on what should come to the zone.

Madukaife did not state when the meeting would take place. He added, “The South-East caucus will decide on that. But the question should not be what position South East needs, not necessarily what position, but strategy.

“Regarding other positions, yes senate presidency is there and so is Speaker of the House of Representatives in the elective category. But first senators and members of House of Representatives have to emerge from the South-East and they should add to the majority.

“So, Ndigbo needs to vote for the APC to satisfy the first condition and join others in other zones to meet the second.”

‘Tinubu’ll accommodate Ndigbo’

The Imo State chapter of the APC has said Tinubu will accommodate the people of South-East if elected the president.

The Publicity Secretary of APC in Imo State, Cajetan Duke, told one of our correspondents in an interview, “There are many good and juicy positions Ndigbo and Imo State will get if by the grace of God APC wins the presidential election. But we must be fully integrated. We have to work to ensure that APC wins all the states in the South-East. We have to use what we have to get what we want.”

He said that the South East would not be demanding for any position until the party wins the presidential election and majority seats in the senate.

‘Can’t share positions’

The Zonal Secretary of the APC in the zone, Chief Augustine Onyedebelu, has said the party is not after sharing of office until the presidential election is won.

Onyedebelu said, “Until you win an election you have nothing to share. I want to believe that when the election is won, a very good position will be given to the people of the South-East to ensure that we are truly part of the system and part of the leadership.”

‘APC must bargain’

Also speaking, the spokesperson for the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said it would be in the best interest of all major political parties to bargain with the South-East region.

He said, “Although it is not in the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to begin permutations at this time, it would be in the best interest of all political gladiators to begin to bargain for the best for the South-East region. All the gladiators from all major political parties have a duty to bargain for what will be best for the South-East region. At the proper time, we will have a meeting with the South-East elders and chieftains and decide on the most favourable equation for the region.”

THE PUNCH

GOCOP

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