The Senate Logo.

Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) captioned, Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, specifically under Section 14(3) expressly provides “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 aforesaid provision of the constitution is very clear from all ambiguities, to the understanding of everyone, the framers of our Constitution for all intents and purposes, in their wisdom considered the multi-ethnicity and pluralisms of other values of Nigeria and deemed it worthy that, carrying every ethnic group along in the formation of the federal government should not just be left at the mercy of the advantaged group at any material time, rather should be guided by a binding force of law, to ensure total and constant compliance.

Since the supremacy of the constitution is established and guaranteed, over any other rule or law by the operation and effect of Section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) one will not expect a departure from having the Senate President zoned to the southeast, if not for any other reason, in regards and compliance with the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Not doing so shall be tilting towards disregarding the spirit of the Constitution and invigorating the defect cured in Section 14(3) of the same Constitution as above mentioned. By literal and purposive interpretations of words used, any conduct that is contrary to the prescriptions of this section shall not be promoting national unity and shall be concurrently whittling down the powers of Nigeria as a nation to command national loyalty of her citizens, that is simply what the law is saying, I am not the one saying so. It is our hope that fellow patriots shall not engage in such conducts.

To further advance the position that the Extant Senate Standing Orders and other relevant rules or laws are not to operate in isolations and non-recognition of the Constitution, it is also expressly provided under Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House” the clause “subject to the provisions of this Constitution” is preeminently positioned in this provision, this is so because the whole Nigerian people own the Constitution and  the Senate is working for the Nigerian people, whom sovereignty is vested upon, under Section  14(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended). Therefore, the senate has the obligation of conducting all businesses in manners that will promote the unity of our dear nation; a united and peaceful Nigeria that commands the loyalty of all citizens shall give birth to a progressive and respected Senate, vice versa.

Going by the prescriptions of Rule 3 Order (2) of the Extant Senate Standing Orders which states as follows; “Nomination of senators to serve as Presiding Officers and appointments of Principal Officers and other Officers of the Senate or on any Parliamentary delegations shall be in accordance with the ranking of Senators. In determining ranking, the following Oder shall apply- (i) Senators retiring based on number of times re-elected; (ii) Senators who had been members of the House of Representatives; and (iii) Senators elected as Senators for the first time.” The southeast geopolitical zone has Senators-elect who are eminently qualified and should be given the opportunity.

The principle of Federal Character should not be downplayed in this matter or in any other, regarding the formation of the Federal government as this touches our national unity and existentialism as a nation. It is pretentious and not right for any person or group to put up any conduct suggesting that this does not matter at this material time. The principle of Federal Character in Nigeria draws its validity from one of the bases upon which this nation succeeded in getting her independence and her citizens living together as one, casting our minds back to the Willink’s Commission of 1958 as ordered by Her Majesty’s Government which testified in its 1959 report “the fear of domination”. Several efforts have been made to douse these fears and stopping them from being witnessed. Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon (As he then was) once asserted in May 27, 1967, “to correct the imbalance in the administrative structure of the Country and to minimize future political friction and ensure a stable Federation”. These fears of domination are assumed to have been finally mitigated by the enshrinement of the Federal character into the Constitution, please, dear nationalist these fears should not be re awakened.

National integration in Nigeria should be about bringing the various Nigerian ethnic groups to cohere, on a continuing basis which should involve all at the topmost hierarchy of governance, in order to enable all component parts in the integration process to continue to have a sense of belonging to the political community created. One major lasting solution to all the agitations in our nation today is in upholding the doctrine of national integration and principles of Federal Character. Truly, sincere efforts should always be made to checkmate any divisive tendency towards national integration, to uphold the long nurtured and loudly proclaimed oneness and indivisibility of Nigeria.

One fact we must always take into cognizance is, that democracy is local and for it to succeed in every nation of the world the indices and factors to consider while operating democracy must also be local, here in Nigeria our pluralist nature which is an intrinsic and inherent part of the background of our existentialism is very paramount, if we know what is Fair and Just, let us do it as one nation, not fundamentally considering the geopolitical zones while forming the federal government in a country like ours  does not pass the test of unity of nationhood. Southeast should be given an unfettered and unencumbered opportunity to produce the Senate President in the 9th assembly.

The arrangements for the formation of the Federal Government by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not changed from its original 2015 design, therefore most of us respectfully and hopefully expect, that our great and noble Party shall zone the President of the Senate to the Southeast, now that we have Senators-elect on the platform of the APC who are also raking in the Senate.

For many of us from the southeast zone, we are appealing to the consciences of the senators-elect being the only persons with the constitutional eligibility of enthroning one of them into this position, to see reasons with us and do the needful. Majority of us also already have our preferred man for the job, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the Senator-elect for Abia North District, because he understands the dynamics and nitty-gritty of Nigerian politics with some prominent divinely endowed and acquired leadership qualities. Kalu is widely accepted in Nigeria by all tribes, he is a detribalized friend to everyone, accepted and known globally, he has been to the House of Representatives, he has been a Governor for two good and remarkable tenures, he was indeed an exceptional Governor, and has continued to make impacts in the lives of people globally, APC won his home- House of Assembly seat, won the Federal House of Representatives Seat, won the Senatorial seat and Abia state delivered about 26% votes for President Buhari through his enormous influence, love and benevolence for his people which was reciprocated by the people through the ballots in favor of his party, the APC. Kalu’s scorecard is not that of a person who will bring friction and quagmire between the Executive and Legislature to delay and impede good governance to Nigerians, we appeal to the Senators to see him worthy which he is, and vest this obligation and responsibility in him, he shall lift Nigeria to enviable heights through the office of Senate President. Our dear Senators-elect, it is our hope that you shall show the Igbo nation some love by giving Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu the powers to preside over your affairs.

We, the passionately patriotic citizens of Nigeria (umu afo Igbo) from the Southeastern part, are craving for justice. It is our expectation that the 9th Senate shall do justice to us. The justice we mean, like I have always said, is that which is an expression of our mutual recognition of each other’s basic dignity, and an acknowledgement that if we are to live together in an interdependent community, we must treat each other as equals. Justice is a social consciousness that makes a society internally harmonious and good. Thomas Aquinas, defined it as the firm and constant will to give to everyone that which is due, we are asking our fellow patriots of our great nation, Nigeria, to give us that which is due, and may the blessings and love of God Almighty continue to rest on all Nigerians.

Noble Uche Agbaeze is Member, Buhari Support Organizations (BSO), Presidential Support Committee and All Progressives Congress (APC) and writes from Abuja.