|Fasehun: OPC President|
Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Founder and President of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC), has warned the Presidency and the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) against stripping the South-West of the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He said zoning the office away from the South-West in the next dispensation when all other zones retained their current slots would mean that PDP and the Presidency had used and dumped the Yoruba people and they could pay a hard price for this “double-cross” in future.
Taking the position of Speaker away from the South-West would also violate the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, the OPC leader said.
Making these observations in a Press Statement circulated to journalists on Wednesday, Fasehun said: “If the Senate maintains status quo and the Senate President remains within the North-Central and the Deputy Senate President is retained in the East, then why should the South-West lose the Speaker?
“Maybe we should remind the nation too that the President legitimately comes from the South-South and the Vice President comes from the North-West. The exit of Honourable OladimejiBankole after May 29 leaves the South-West with virtually no share in government. We hope the powers-that-be will consider that the South-West Zone is too big and too politically important to be left out in the current scheme of things. The Federal Government should not allow the Yoruba people to think that they are being marginalized and pushed out of the Federal Government.”
According to Dr.Fasehun, positions allocated had always remained within their benefiting zones even when personalities occupying such posts changed. This he said was evidenced in the past when the South-East enjoyed an unbroken monopoly of the position of Senate President through Chief Evan Enwerem, Chief ChubaOkadigbo, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim and Chief Ken Nnamani, while Honourable GhaliNa'abba and Aminu Bello Masari from the North-West replaced AlhajiSalisuBuhari from the North-West for the position of Speaker.
“Against such precedent, a Yoruba man should naturally replace Honourable DimejiBankole a Yoruba man as Speaker for the House of Representatives,” the OPC Founder counseled. “And any zones planning to contest the Speaker's seat with the South-West better be futuristic and proactive in their ambition because they might need Yoruba backing for something really big down the line.”
According to him, although the ruling party fell behind in the elections for lower levels in the South-West, that fact only served to confirm the cultural democracy and democratic sophistication that Yoruba people prided themselves upon.
“The truth remains that the South-West voted en masse for President Goodluck Jonathan in total disregard of party affiliations,” Fasehun said. “And they expect to be rewarded for helping PDP and the President in that crucial victory for the country's biggest stake. Sharing of offices of the National Assembly should not make Yoruba people to regret their voting preference.”
He further said that intense lobbying by other zones for the post of Speaker clearly endangers the Federal Character principles of the Constitution, which stipulates an all-inclusive administration for the country.
His words: “The present arguments on sharing National Assembly offices are definitely unequivocally lopsided against not only the Yoruba but the Constitution. Section 14(3) stipulates that: 'The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.' ”
Urging PDP and the Federal Government to reward the South-West for displaying political maturity in the last polls, Fasehun said doing otherwise would mean that the zoning system and Federal Character principles had collapsed and no zone might count on the South-West's support in the future.
In his words: “Even before the National Assembly is convoked, arguments are raging on which zone should get what and whether some zones should even get anything. We hate to think that the Yoruba people of the South-West are being politically marginalized. It must be stated that fair is fair and foul is foul. For democracy to thrive, justice must be done to all and sundry.”
DR. Frederick Fasehun
Founder/President Oodua People's Congress (OPC)