By Angela Atabo
The Nigeria Civil Society Advocacy Group (NiCAG) on Tuesday in Abuja urged Sen. Godswill Akpabio to contest for the position of President of the 10th National Assembly.
The group, which comprises more than 20 civil society organisations and interest groups across the six geo-political zones, also urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other groups to support him.
While addressing a news conference to call out Akpabio, NiCAG’s Chairman, Mr Kenneth Obi, said they decided to urge Akpabio to contest because of what he has to bring to the table.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Obi, who read out a statement by the group was flanked by their Vice-Chairman, Dr Lawrence Okwara, and Director of Media, Pastor Shedrach Oka.
“Akpabio’s endorsement is coming on the heels of the several declarations made by some Senators who are also qualified for the position but cannot fit into the equation at this time .
“We therefore insist that Akpabio remains the best material for this top position under the present circumstances,” he said.
Obi added that Akpabio’s leadership of the Senate under Tinubu’s presidency would be the best thing to happen to Nigeria in terms of inclusive democracy and good governance.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people are going to through so much difficult times.
“We need patriots of discerning characters, competence and capacity to bring that optimal depth of leadership efficiency, balance and service delivery in our leadership quest for maximum output and impact.”
Obi said, “the National Assembly is a microcosm of the Nigerian state.
“Its politics must be played to reflect and satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians for equity, justice and fairness to the zones which have not produced its leadership since the return of democracy.”
The NiCAG Chairman pointed out that in the 24 years of democracy in Nigeria, the office of the Senate President has been held by almost all zones except the South-South zone.
“From 1999 to 2007 it was held by South-East from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“In 2007 to 2015, the Senate President’s office was held by the North-Central PDP, and from 2015 to 2019 it was held by North Central APC.
“From 2019 to 2023 it was held by North-East APC. So, from 2023 to 2027 at least, who should occupy it? Certainly, it should be the South-South,” he stated.
Speaking also, the group’s Director of Media, Pastor Shedrach Oka, said it was clear the South-West, North-West and South-South were the only zones yet to produce the Senate President in the past 24 years.
“With the President-elect from the South-West and the Vice President-elect from the North-East, the zone left behind and well-positioned to get it is the South-South.
“Therefore, there is the need to call on other zones to support the South-South in this endeavour.”
Oka said Akpabio deserved all support to become Senate President because he is a lawyer, grassroots politician, first-class strategist and a two-term governor.
“Our group has no doubt in our mind that Akpabio will be the most documented and successful President of the Senate that Nigeria would ever produce, given his uncommon Midas touch and track record of past performance.
Akpabio is a trusted bridge-builder and Nigeria needs a man that can uphold the unity of the country, stabilise and strengthen its democracy and the independence of the third arm of government with a strong consideration for national patriotism.
“We therefore, most respectfully, enjoin the leadership of the APC and other major stakeholders to appreciate the effort and sacrifices of the South-South in ensuring that the Tinubu-Shettima ticket emerged victorious during the presidential election,” the group’s spokesperson said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)