A South East group, Ndigbo United Front (NUF), has rejected the alleged endorsement of Hon. Benjamin Kalu by the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) for Deputy Speakership of the 10th Assembly.
The group in a statement signed by its President, Okeke Festus(Anambra) and Secretary, Ani Justice (Enugu) and made available to journalists, the group urged APC to immediately drop Kalu and reward loyalty, commitment, fairness.and justice.
They alleged that Kalu has not done anything to build APC in his local government which according to them, was why he lost the local government to Labour Party during the just concluded general elections, adding that he narrowly escape defeat during the election.
“APC should be a party that rewards hard work and loyalty. How can you just pick someone who almost lost his re-election?. It is on record that Labour Party won Hon. Benjamin Kalu local government during the general elections. He struggled all through the election before he narrowly won. He has not contributed to the growth of APC in his constituency.
“We have some other lawmakers in South East who have been building the party since the last eight years and APC has been winning their constituencies through their efforts. Even this last general elections, APC won their areas through their efforts and there is no any way to reward their efforts other than allowing them to take positions of authority like the Deputy Speakership and other positions.
Benjamin Kalu who lost his local government to Labour Party in Abia but narrowly won his return to the National Assembly. APC should consider merit and performance for this particular position, Deputy Speakership. We don’t have any issue with other positions the party leadership endorsed some lawmakers.
“We are saying that the party got it wrong in Benjamin Kalu endorsement whose credentials are questionable and we challenge him president his credentials.
“Benjamin Kalu has never helped anybody in Abia and we are not happy with the endorsement of Benjamin Kalu because he is a complete failure to Abia people. We don’t know why they endorsed him, maybe to compensate someone who is his leader in his state.
APC is not fair and just otherwise, how can the party endorsed someone from Abia for leadership position in the 10th Assembly when state produced 3 principal officers in the present 9th Assembly?
“In this 9th assembly, Abia state produced three principal officers of the Assembly(One in the House of Representatives and Two in the Senate) and yet was not able to give the President Elect a single delegate during the party’s convention.
“Enugu, Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi didn’t produce and principal officers in the current National Assembly and we thought that the party should have considered these states in the interest of justice and fairness.
” Abia state doesn’t deserve the office of the Deputy Speaker. Ebonyi state has continued to raise high flags in her support for the APC likewise Imo, Enugu and Anambra which deserve this office.
“For instance, APC won all the three senatorial zones in Ebonyi State and three out of the six House of Representatives positions in the state and also won the governorship election in the just concluded general elections. No single state in the South East deliver APC the way Ebonyi did and the leadership of APC refused to consider this in their so-called endorsement.
“We are seeing danger for APC during the election of principal officers of the 10th Assembly if the party refused to do the right thing by rewarding hard work and loyalty or allowing lawmakers to contest positions they want to contest in the National Assembly.
“Other parties are watching APC and the party should know this. The party should be very careful so as not to lose principal positions to opposition parties.
“The office of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives should not be ceded to someone that does not base in Nigeria and can’t galvanize the grassroots.
“It requires someone in touch with the people that can help to stabilize the house and help to bring to a halt agitations from southeast and other parts of the country”, the group stated.