Serving senators and senators-elect from the South-east have rejected the zoning of senate presidency to the South-south region as well as the reported choice of Godswill Akpabio for the position.
They stated their position in a communique issued after their meeting on Sunday in Abuja.
Outgoing governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Friday announced that governors of the ruling APC have resolved to endorse Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, as the president of the 10th Senate and Jibrin Barau as deputy senate president.
The following day, the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, a senator-elect and aspirant for the position, announced that he had stepped down from the race on the persuasion of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Mr Umahi is from the south-east as are three other contenders for the position, namely Orji Kalu, Osita Izunaso and Patrick Ndubeze.
“Akpabio a continuation of marginalisation”
The 11 south-east senators and senators-elect, who signed the communique, said accepting Mr Akpabio as senate president amounts to marginalising the people of the South-east geopolitical region of the country.
They urged Mr Tinubu to drop Mr Akpabio and stop the politics of marginalisation and endorse a candidate from the South-east as the next senate president on the ground that the region had been denied the presidency of the country since 1966.
“We implore the president-elect to be sensitive to the times in Nigeria and ensure the country continues to thrive on the party of equity, unity and fairness to the tripod of Nigeria (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba) and the geopolitical zones,” the communique read by Ifeayi Ubah, the senator for Anambra South, said.
“Mr President-elect, how would an average Igbo man feel after he sees evidence of total discrimination. The South-east has been denied the chance of producing the president of Nigeria since 1966. The South-south has produced a President for six years and also had deputy senate president in the outgoing administration. The only zone in the South that has not been favoured is the South-east.
“The outcry of marginalsation by the South-east and the entire Igbo should be addressed by your incoming administration rather than aggravating it, they said.
The South-west has the President (and) the North-east has the Vice President. It is only just that the least position at the moment that can assuage the South-east is given the chance to be the President of the 10th Senate (SIC).”
They however announced that the South-east caucus of the Senators-elect have resolved to oppose Mr Akpabio and support only aspirants from the region as the next Senate President.
On this note we have collectively resolved to support South-east aspirants of the APC. We remain committed and have since expanded negotiations with other well-meaning Senators-elect to rally round the South-east to ensure that justice, fairness and unity of the country prevails,” the communique added.
Those who signed the communique are Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North), Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South), Ifeanyi Ubahi (YPP, Anambra South), Victor Umeh (LP, Anambra Central) and Osita Izunaso (APC, Imo West).
Others are, Ezenwa Oyewuchi (Imo East), Tony Nwoye (LP, Anambra East) Patrick Ndubueze (APC, Imo North), Okey Ezea (LP, Enugu Central), Kelvin Chukwu (LP, Enugu East) and Osita Ngwu (LP, Enugu West).
Mr Umahi, an APC senator-elect from Ebonyi and two other senators-elect from his state, did not participate in the meeting.
There are 15 senators and senators-elect from the South-east region.
Apart from Messrs Akpabio, Izunaso, Ndubeze and Kalu, other aspirants for the senate presidency include Jibrin Barau (Kano), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Sani Musa (Niger).