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Race for speaker: Supporters of lawmaker who escaped 100 bullets want Benjamin Kalu to be deputy speaker

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They demanded that their leader be made speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, but that seemed to evade Benjamin Kalu from Abia State.

Now, his angry supporters seem to remember that how over 100 bullets were pumped into the space he just left.

They now chant that denying Kalu and South East the position of deputy speaker would amount to nothing less than an insult to party loyalty.

The Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA), a political pressure group, said to be one foremost advocacy groups on the Rights of indigenous people said they were forced to once again demand Kalu to be either speaker or deputy.

The group said they were forced to intervene in the debate over the formation of the leadership of the yet-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly.

According to Bright Ngolo, national coordinator of the group, it is trite in law that equity aids the vigilant.

He said as stakeholders in the Nigerian project and as a group populated by 100 percent youths who make up at least 64 percent of the voting demographics, staying aloof while the future of the nation is being moulded by these debates over proper leadership, would be a disservice to members of the NDRA across the region and the youths of this nation.

He went on: “That we believe that the choice of leadership of the National Assembly should not be left to the ruling elite but that citizens and indeed the electorate must have to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the dramatis personae vis-a-vis the performance of the current and past leaderships of the NASS.”

This said the group does believe that it remains a moral burden for the nation to consider the inclusion of the South-East zone to the leadership matrix of the nation and the formation of the leadership of the 10th National Assembly presents an auspicious opportunity to us all.

The group leader said it is true that the National Working Committee of the APC, which is the ruling party at the centre, has presented the post of deputy speaker to the South-East and that the zone has a plethora of qualified sons and daughters at the House of Representatives especially those of the APC extraction.

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“It is only natural and imperative that one person be projected to occupy the seat of Deputy Speaker.

“If a critical look at the three House of Reps members-elect of the APC extraction is carried out, the capacity of Kalu shows in the number of bills which he has to his credit, the highest in the entire South-East with 43 to his name and 3 assented to by Mr President. On motions on national issues of importance, he ranks the highest with 22 to his name.”

On representation, he stated, Kalu has attracted the comparatively highest percentage of the value of infrastructure attracted to the South East which runs to billions of Naira.

“On visibility as the spokesperson of the 9th House of Representatives, for four years he has defended the House well and projected the image of the Igbo nation better for those of us in the Niger Delta to notice.

“He is a better and acceptable Igbo image for the Igbos even beyond the shores of this country. He is not only visible but cerebral in the national discussion.

“In terms of loyalty to the party, Kalu fearlessly preached the message of the APC even in the face of danger in the zone. We want Nigerians and the party apparatchik to understand that micro-zoning the post of deputy speaker to Kalu is a reward for loyalty to the party

“The campaign office he erected to market the APC was riddled with over 100 bullets by yet-to-be-identified assailants due to his resilience in harvesting votes for the APC.”

He said the 10th NASS leadership must be built around character, integrity, popularity, respect for the institution and getting the due of members to ensure even development is attracted across the board, Kalu has the charisma and competence and fits into these skill sets. It would amount to a great disservice to this nation if emotional and or any other mundane sentiments are put on the table as considerations in the choice of the House leadership.

Abia’s Ori Uzo Kalu is gunning for senate presidency in the same APC, making it difficult to convince the same APC caucus to pick Kalu.