The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders has commended Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide led by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu for rejecting the position of the deputy speaker of the Federal House of Representatives which was purportedly micro-zoned to the South-East.
According to a statement on Friday, the President-General, Goodluck Ibem and the Publicity Secretary, Okey Nwaoru, said the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is the popular will and wish of the South-East people.
According to the group, it reflects and resonates with the Igbo quest for political survival as one of the major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
The apex group also berated the member representing Bende federal constituency in Abia State, Benjamin Kalu, for accepting the deputy speaker position.
The statement read, “We deem it very insulting, contemptuous, demeaning and most undignifying for the member, representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, Benjamin Kalu, for betraying the collective interest of Ndigbo at a time like this by accepting the position of the Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, which, by our ranking, is the seventh position in the hierarchy of office and position of power in the nation.
“This singular act by Kalu is reproachful and we condemn it in its entirety. For emphasis, we wish to ask: Are the Igbo now ranked seventh in terms of population and contribution to national growth, economic advancement and development? Are the Igbo now the seventh largest ethnic group in the nation that spoils sharing will eliminate and consign them to the abyss of nothingness?
“Nigeria, from its get-go, was established on a tripodal structure by the founding fathers, an arrangement which straddles: the North, dominated by Hausa/Fulani; the East, dominated by the Igbo; and the West, dominated by the Yoruba.
“The Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba nations have up until now continued to retain their positions of power, each having had a shot at the presidency – producing both the president and vice since the return to democracy in 1999, whereas, the South-East, which is a successor region of the Old Eastern Region with an Igbo majority lags, is forgotten and treated as a minority.
“The zoning formula Kalu is standing on today, simply because it favours him and him alone, renders the post-war ‘three Rs of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation’ a ruse in light of present circumstance.”
According to them, Ndigbo deserve and ask for more, and shall not settle for less.
“This is a political decline for a nationality larger than over 10 independent countries in Africa who have a flag each at the AU, the UN and other international organisations.
“In pursuit of self-advancement, Ben Kalu fails to see the bigger picture and keeps exhibiting symptoms of low self-esteem to have accepted deputy speakership post which does not give the Igbo advantage in the positional bargaining politics of 2023.
“Ndigbo have their own culture and way of doing things peculiar to them, and those found wanting or going against the collective interest of her people are seriously and substantially dealt with, and accordingly,” it added.