By Ononye VC
The Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Dr Tony Nwoye, has condemned President Ahmed Tinubu’s alleged marginalisation of the South-East geopolitical zone over appointments.
Describing the president’s action as unconstitutional, Nwoye said the South-East geopolitical zone was marginalised in the recent ministerial appointments.
Nwoye, a former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students ( NANS), moved the motion on the floor of the senate, stating that Tinubu’s ministerial appointments violated the provisions of the Federal Character principles which provide that in sharing any position, the President must take cognizance of zones, states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Nwoye’s motion was supported by 15 senators from the South-East.
According to the 15 lawmakers from the South-East, despite the provisions of the law, they are worried apart from the appointment of a minister from each of the five states in the region, no other minister was appointed from the zone on the basis of representation from geopolitical zones, whereas the other five geopolitical zones got an additional minimum of two ministers each from their zones.
The five ministers appointed from the Southeast zone are Uju Ken Ohaneye, Anambra state; Uche Nnaji, Enugu state; David Umahi, Ebonyi state; Dr Doris Uzoka, Imo state and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Abia state.
While other regions got additional ministers apart from the one appointed from each state in the regions, the Southeast did not get any additional ministerial appointments.
However, Senate President Godswill Akpabio stepped down Nwoye’s motion on the point of order to consult President Bola Tinubu on the issue.
Condemning the act, Nwoye said, “I am not happy about it at all. That is why senators from the Southeast – 15 of us in number – wanted to move the point of order since Friday on Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of the flagrant violation of that section.
“That section points out to the fact that in sharing any position, you must take cognizance of zones, you must take cognizance of Federal Character in anything you are doing.
“Then, Federal Character Commission Act, 2004, laws of the federation states very clear in Section 5(a) (b) Part 3, Section 4(b) Part 1 of the Federal Character Commission Act, that in doing any appointment, be it ministers, you must take cognizance of states, FCT or Zones.
“Zones in this subject matter is geopolitical zones. So, the Southeast zone was not given one person in terms of geopolitical zones, while other zones, Northwest has three additional from the zone, making it 10.
“Northeast has two, making it eight because they have six states. North Central has extra two added to the six states they have, making it eight. Southwest has extra three added to six states they have making it nine. South South has extra two added to six states they have, making it eight. Southeast has none.
“They only gave us based on states. It is not fair. It offends the principle of Federal Character. It violates that section of the Federal Character – FA 5(b) Part 3, 4(b).
“That is why we have been angling for a motion but from point of order to motion, but the Senate President in his wisdom, for reasons best known to him decided that he wants to go and take it up with President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu privately instead of moving the motion.
“We prefer to move the motion, if it fails, it fails because other senators, we spoke to them individually and they saw the reason that it is not fair. Maybe it was an oversight.
“So, we are appealing to him (Tinubu) by the sense of the motion that was stepped down, for him to see reasons to reflect Federal Character Act and respect that provision and appoint two extra ministers from the South-East to represent the zone because it is very clear in the laws of the federation.
“And it is not fair that out of six geopolitical zones we have in Nigeria, five zones have their own from two, three but only Southeast doesn’t have any. It is not fair.” Nwoye protested.