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Kanu’s release more important to South East than Senate presidency – Onoh

By Guardian Nigeria
23 March 2023   |   7:49 pm
The president-elect campaign spokesman in the South East, Dr. Josef Onoh has told the President-elect to prioritize the release of Nnamdi Kanu than conceding the position of the President of the Senate to the South East zone. Onoh argued that the south east had held the position of the President of the Senate and rotated…

Composite image of Dr Josef Onoh and Nnamdi Kanu.

The president-elect campaign spokesman in the South East, Dr. Josef Onoh has told the President-elect to prioritize the release of Nnamdi Kanu than conceding the position of the President of the Senate to the South East zone.

Onoh argued that the south east had held the position of the President of the Senate and rotated it among states in the region but gained nothing other than acrimony and bad politics.

He rather suggested that the position should be zoned to the South-south region which has not held it since 1999, stating that in zoning it to the south-south region, it should be particularized to the Edo-North Senator-elect, Comrade Adams Oshomohle, whom he said has better capacity to manage the position Senate Presidency.

Onoh, therefore, pleaded with the clerk of the Senate to ignore its standing rule to make it possible for first time Senators who have held critical positions that equipped them for assignments such as the management of National Assembly.

He said that the Clerk should ignore the Standing order, as it’s a breach of Constitutional equality and conduct election as the Constitution guarantees equality of constituencies and inherently senators.

He took objection to claims by some individuals claiming that it was their turn to become Senate President, noting that such a position was nobody’s turn but the turn of one with an untainted and meritorious track record such as Adams Oshiomole or any other qualified senator from the south – south the All Progressives Congress (APC) herachy may deem fit.

Onoh said: “Even though I’m not in support and will never support Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s method of operation and the pain the actions of IPOB have caused Nigerians which warranted the federal government to take proactive measures on him and his organization, I’m urging the President-elect that the release of Nnamdi Kanu is more important to us than Senate Presidency.

“What the south east needs is economic growth, security and development and since Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest and detention a sit-at-home was declared which has crippled the economic stability and growth in the south east. Criminal elements are now hiding under the guise of IPOB to create security instability in the south east which currently has overwhelmed the entire south east governors and residents alike.

“So it does not arise for persons from the south east to be clamouring for the position of Senate President, let alone saying ‘it’s my turn’. While his zone is under heavy security threat and economic suffocation.

“We’ve held the position for eight years and it benefited us nothing. What we need is economic prosperity and growth as the President-elect promised us. I plead and urge for the release of Nnamdi Kanu while he attends his trial from home and it will help to end the sit-at-home and security instability in our zone.”

Onoh was the only public office holder who came out boldly and publicly at the commencement of the sit-at-home protests in the south east urged residents to ignore the exercise since it would retard the economy of the region, more so when it was ordered by a non constituted authority.

He flard the imitation of Emilokan slogan for Senate presidency which he said was a selfish interest of the imitator from the south east.

“Before someone would use the slogan Emilokan, he should ask himself, how many people he has made, developed and grown in politics outside his immediate family.

“I’m asking that the Senate standing rules that says only the ranking members are qualified for Senate presidency should be changed or discarded since it’s not constitutional. What we need is proactive leadership, particularly now that we have more new legislators in the Senate, particularly now there is a new hope in Nigeria and in the National Assembly.

“The Senate Presidency should also be moved to the South-south and I believe that Adams Oshomohle is more qualified to be the Senate President because he showed more tenacity and support in the pursuit of this renewed hope, more so, when he is a man that stands by his words and bold enough.

“The south east at this time is not asking for a Senate President, but for a peaceful release on bail of Nnamdi Kanu while he attends trial. If possible we can release Kanu to the British High Commissioner on bail from where he can attend trial. The government should shun all the selfish individuals from the south east using the request for release of Kanu to their political advantage.”

He alleged that prior to now, the south east PDP stakeholders had already accepted the offer of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) the Atiku-Okowa presidential campaign offered them as a possible in road into the Southeast.

“The leaders of the Southeast failed to hid my advice, they were fixated on the small picture, engrossed in ethnic and religious politics which blinded their vision of seeing the bigger picture, they collectively settled for a slice of soaked bread with hope of playing the usual entitlement card and demand high positions to be given to them.

“They didn’t work for the APC, they didn’t believe in A Tinubu presidency, we that believed were threatened, insulted, labelled traitors and outcast, sadly some were killed and today they wish to reap were they didn’t sow. I wonder what would have happened if Gov. Hope Uzodinma and Gov. Dave umahi didn’t deliver on their mandate.

“Enugu State was the worst of all as their leadership all agreed to support Labour Party and PDP while pretending to be with us in secret. The president-elect warned them about the implications of settling for a slice of soaked bread but they failed to listen. Same mistake the zone made when they shut themselves from the country’s emerging power equation that began May 29, 2015 as they did not produce any federal lawmaker on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the National Assembly elections.

“With no APC lawmaker from the South East, the zone lost the positions of the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives — two slots the region should ordinarily fill. We can’t continue rewarding incompetence if we truly seek change. So I’m of the opinion that the Senate presidency should be zoned to a more deserving zone that worked for us and if any office should be zoned to the south east, then let’s zone the SGF to the zone and also appoint our supporter too, which was what their political leaders in the PDP had already settled with Atiku during the campaign,” Onoh suggested.

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