The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), the apex sociopolitical youth group in the South East geopolitical zone, has praised Ohanaeze Ndigbo for rejecting the position of the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives which was purportedly micro-zoned to the South East.
The group described the position taken by the apex Igbo sociocultural organization as the popular will and wish of the people, insising that such stand reflects the Igbo quest for political survival as one of the major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
President General and Publicity Secretary of COSEYL, Hon. Goodluck Ibem and Comrade Okey Nwaoru respectively, in a statement, condemned what they termed singular act by Ben Kalu to accept the position of the Deputy Speaker, describing it as reproachful.
The statement reads in part, “We deem it very insulting, demeaning and most undignifying for Hon. Benjamin Kalu, Member Representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, to betray 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 7th position in the hierarchy of office and position of power in the nation.
“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 Southeast, 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 Hon. Ben 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.
“Why will Ndigbo play second fiddle to other nationalities even after enjoying the vice president position nine years following the civil war? 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 organizations.
“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.
“We declare Hon. Benjamin Kalu a “persona non grata” in Southeast for betraying the collective interest and aspiration of Ndigbo because of his insatiable narrow political interest”.
COSEYL added that Ndigbo deserves and asks for more, and shall not settle for less.