Made available to igedeonline.com By Joseph Ode
The Igede in 2023 Movement has taken the agitation for the zoning of Zone C Senatorial Seat to Old Oju, to another level. The visitation which one done yesterday, Saturday 12th March 2022 was reported and made available by the publicity Secretary, Joseph Ode. Read full report below.
“A delegation of Igede in 2023 Movement, on behalf of the Igede nation, on Saturday, March 12, resumed ànd intensified its advocacy for Zone C Senator from Old Oju in 2023 with visits to the state Chairmen of All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The delegation also visited Chief Stephen Lawani, former Deputy Governor and current gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of APC; and Dr. Christopher Obute, a respected elder statesman and former Finance Commissioner.
“The visits came about two months after similar advocacy meetings of the Movement with Engr. Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor, and Senator Abba Moro, the serving Senator for Zone C (Benue South Senatorial District) on the same mission.
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“At all the places visited on Saturday, the message delivered by Dr. Jonah Ogbaji, Chairman of the Steering Committee of Igede in 2023 Movement and leader of delegation, was consistent and clear. He told his hosts that Zone C in general and the Igede nation in particular have been marginalized in the area of political representation (elective and appointive positions) since the creation of Benue State 46 years. In particular, he pointed out that while Zone C has never been opportuned to be elected Governor of the state, the Igede nation (Oju and Obi LGAs) has also never occupied the position of Senate representing Benue South Senatorial District.
“In order to redress this lack of equity, fairness, justice and inclusiveness in governance, the Igede people have fully and wholeheartedly supported and continue to support the Benue Rebirth Movement (BRM) in its agitation for Zone C to produce the state Governor in 2023. He, therefore, requested his hosts to also support the Old Oju (Igede nation) to produce the Benue South Senator in 2023. This demand, he told Hon. Austin Agada, the State Chairman of APC, “is borne out of the need to redress historical and contemporary imbalances in political representation in Zone C in line with the aforementioned principles of equity, fairness and justice.”
“In his response, the APC Chairman said he identified with the aspirations of the Igede people in respect of the Senatorial Seat in 2023, being a man that also believes in equity and fairness. He, however, said that it was unlikely that any party would sit down and zone the position of Governor or Senator to any particular area. He said the people of Zone C and Igede nation could only achieve their objective by putting forward and working hard for credible aspirants for the positions of Governor and Senate. But Prof. Ode Ojowu, member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and member of delegation, reminded the chairman that zoning of political offices have been done in the past and could still be done in respect of the Governorship and Benue South Senator. Another member of delegation, Mr. Amity Ijuwo, advised the chairman to zone the position of Senator to Old Oju to gain advantage over other parties in the area during the elections.
“Sir John Ngbede, State Chairman of PDP, also identified with the Igede people’s aspiration for the Senate but said the decision on zoning the positions of Senate and Governor was not his personal one to take. At the appropriate time, he said, relevant stakeholders, including the parties, would take that decision. He, however, noted that unless Igede people show determination, seriousness and boldness by coming out to contest, they may not be considered. “You should not wait until somebody comes to put the Senate position on your table before you contest,” he said. “Show boldness, don’t feel intimidated, come out and contest.”
“The State PDP Chairman gave examples of Zone A and Idoma area of Zone C where a large number of Governorship aspirants have emerged as evidence of their seriousness. He regretted, however, that Igede sons and daughters, with all their intelligence and capacity were reluctant to come out and contest. He noted especially that there was no Igede senatorial aspirant on the platform of his party, PDP, except one U.S based member who came to his house to notify him of his aspiration when he visited Nigeria.
“Chief Lawani spoke in a similar vein. He said that his party, APC, at a point, had decided that the position of senate would go to Old Oju in 2023 but with seemingly lack of activities from that area and the fact that National Assembly primaries would hold before that of Governorship, he could not see how an Igede person would be Senator in 2023. “It is when a Zone C Governor occupies the Government House that an Igede man can be Senator. “If it is me, we will sit down with the Igede and sign an agreement…The current aspiration by the Igede is good and timely, but I have to be frank…At my age, I have to tell the truth, not just what others would tell you to make you feel good.” Prof. Ojowu, however, reminded him that holding National Assembly primaries first would pose no disadvantage to the Igede as they would vote for the Governorship candidate of the party that would pick its Senatorial candidate from Igede.
“Chief Obute who also hosted the Igede delegation was very categorical about his support for the Igede Senatorial aspiration. He said as a super minority from the minority area of Owukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area, he always empathizes with other minorties. He said there should be no argument about the Igede being given the senate position in 2023 and that he uses every opportunity to push the position of the Igede on the matter. “Even if you wake me from sleep, that is what I will tell you.”
Igede in 2023 Movement
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