Chike Okafor, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member of the House of Representatives on Monday asked Adams Oshiomhole, his party’s national chairman, to sacrifice Femi Gbajabiamila, the party’s preferred candidate for speakership in the 9th House of Representatives, for a candidate from the South East in the interest of peace and equity.
Okafor, who has been elected for the second term to the House to represent Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State, told House of Representatives correspondents in Abuja in an interaction session, that it was time for the APC to reciprocate the goodwill that party members in the South East had done to it to clear the coast ahead of 2023.
The lawmaker, who is also aspiring for the exalted office of the speaker, said although he or any other aspirant from the South East, might not have the legislative credentials of Gbajabiamila, they were also not less qualified for the job.
He said that it would be a big mistake if the party should insist on Gbajabiamila and again, deny the South East of that exalted office because of their poor number as done in 2015.
The lawmaker, who said that APC members in the South East have sacrificed so much to establish the party in the zone, said that the national secretariat should not always cheat the South East by reason of number.
Okafor said that the APC has made greater inroads now in the zone than in 2015, following their hard work, which led to President Muhammad Buhari winning over 25 percent across three states of the South East.
“You are already aware of the clamour from across the country for equitable distribution of the principal offices of the National Assembly and most importantly, the recent push by several APC support groups from across the Northern states and the South East calling on the party leadership to zone the speakership of the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives to the South East.
“In 2015, the APC denied the South East principal-officer positions in the National Assembly on the ground that we did not have a ranking member under the APC. I was slated for leadership position then, but was eventually denied the position of deputy whip because I was a first timer, now I am back and ranking.