President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said he regrets the failure of the South-west to get the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with the zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I always say it; one of the problems I faced in the National Assembly was that I felt the right thing should be done because our party has a formula. We have six geo-political zones in the country and when the president emerges from one of the geo-political zones, the vice president emerges from another geo-political zone, the rest core offices – the senate president, the speaker, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the chairman of the party – must come from different geo-political zones,” Jonathan said at the Yoruba Unity Summit, organised by the Yoruba Unity Forum and held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.
“The idea is that, whenever we are distributing board positions and some of these appointments, these people sit to take decisions. Whenever we are appointing ministers, all these people sit to take decisions. In that case, we want all the geo-political zones to be in the inner caucus that take critical decisions,” the president explained.
“The last time, it was difficult for me because I insisted that the South-west must get the office of speaker. Of course, I couldn’t go through with it because some of us within the South-west didn’t want it based on some personal reasons. I am still suffering from that till today. That is one of the reasons that the leaders said, this time around, we must work collectively so that whatever position is zoned to the South-west, we should get that position.”
The last time a lawmaker from the South-West held the position of the speaker was in 2011 when Dimeji Bankole, representing Abeokuta South Federal Constituency finished his tenure. Although, the zone of the President, his vice and the Senate president has remained the same, a northerner Aminu Tambuwal has held the position since 2011. If the PDP zoning was to be considered, someone from the southwest should be speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jonathan restated his commitment to keeping Nigeria as one and he said he remained true to his conviction of a united Nigeria. He praised the efforts of the Yoruba people and their cooperation with other sections of the country to ensure Nigeria remains united. He therefore pledged to do more for the region, as over 50 percent of the nation’s wealth comes from it.
He observed that the gathering was “not just about the unity of the descendants of Oduduwa but a clarion call on Nigerians to embark on a path to seek accommodation and build consensus.”
He therefore charged people of the country to live in harmony, noting that with love, understanding and respect for one another, there is no obstacle Nigeria would not surmount.