Senators representing the South East geo-political zone of the country, on Monday, decried what they considered the marginalisation of the region in the current ministerial nominations done by President Bola Tonubu.. Consequently, the aggrieved Senators, called President Tinubu to urgently balance geo-political representation in the recent ministerial nominations.
The lawmakers made the observation and request while considering a motion, “urgent need to balance geo-political representation in the ministerial appointment,” sponsored by Senator Tony Nwoye (Anambra North) and co-sponsored by fourteen other Senators from the zone.
They observed that the North West geo-political zone has 10 ministerial nominees; North East, 8, North Central, 8; South West, 9, South South, 8 while the South East has only 5 nominees.
Presenting the motion, Nwoye cited Section 14 (3) of 1999 Constitution as amended, pointing out that it provides that “The Composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.”
The motion said further: “Also aware that Section 5 (a) & (b) under part 3 of Federal Character Commission Act Cap 17 laws of Federation 2004 provides that as far as practicable, the appointment to the various categories of political offices shall be done on the basis of equitable representation of the States of the federation, FCT or Zones as appropriate using the relevant formula. The political offices concerned include:
(a) Ministers of cabinet rank;
(b) Ministers of State;
“Further aware that Section 4 (b) Part 1 of Federal Character Commission Act laws of Federation 2001 Provides for proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, Media and political posts at all levels;
“Observes that Ministers appointed so far have the following configuration namely: North West Geopolitical Zone- 10 Ministers (3 extra Ministers); North East Geopolitical Zone, 8 Ministers (2 extra Ministers), North Central Geopolitical Zone- 8 Ministers (2 extra Ministers), South West Geopolitical Zone- 9 Ministers (2 extra Ministers), South-South Geopolitical Zone- 8 Ministers (2 extra Ministers) and South East Geopolitical Zone- 5 Ministers (Nil).
“Worried that no Minister was appointed from the South East Zone on the basis of geo-political zone representation, whereas the other five geo-political zones have additional minimum of two ministers each from their zones (North West has additional 3, North East has additional 2, North Central has additional 2 South West has additional 3 and South-South has additional 2 Ministers) which offends the spirit and Section 5a and 5b part 3, and as well as Section four part 1 of Federal Character Commission Act Laws of the Federation 2004; and Concerned that this does not promote national unity and national loyalty as enshrined in Section 14(3) of 1999 Constitution as amended.”
The South East Senators, accordingly, requested that the Senate should urge President Tinubu to appoint at least two additional Ministers from the South East, to balance geo-political representation.