The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has cautioned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against side-lining the Igbo in the sharing of principal offices of the National Assembly.

Ohanaeze Youths said: “It is a big insult and an affront to the Igbo nation that the Southeast is not in the consideration of APC for any key principal position in the Ninth National Assembly leadership.”

The group spoke through its Deputy National Youth Leader, Dr. Kingsley Dozie.

It frowned at the non-inclusion of the Southeast on the list of zones to produce the presiding officers for the Ninth National Assembly.

Ohanaeze Youths said it was aware that the APC leadership, backed by the Presidency, had endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan (Northeast) for Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila (Southwest) for the Speaker House of Representatives.

It added: “We query the justification in zoning the presiding officers of the National Assembly to regions that already have a fair share.

“We contend that since the President and Vice-President came from the North and the Southwest, justice and equity demand that either the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives should come from the Southeast.

“Since APC has already zoned the Senate Presidency to the Northeast and the Deputy to the Southsouth, the Southeast should be allowed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“If they say we have no ranking senator from their party, will they also say we don’t have qualified APC members in the House of Representatives, where one of them is returned for the fourth term in the name of Mrs Onyejeocha?

“Nigeria stands on the tripod of Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, hence the distribution of political offices should reflect this equilibrium without excluding any tribe.

“APC’s orchestrated plans to exclude the Southeast from the Nigerian Project and power bloc will be resisted and any attempt to relegate Ndigbo to the background would not succeed.

“The Ndigbo are not visitors in Nigeria and not second class in the Nigerian Project. We cannot be treated as such. We are not slaves and can never be. Nigeria belongs to us all and this is a fact everybody must learn to live with.

“We urge members of the National Assembly to cede the Speakership position to the South East to foster unity and National cohesion.”

Also, the member representing Estako Federal Constituency in Edo State, Johnson Oghuma, has said the next Speaker of the House of Representatives will come from the South.

Oghuma, who was re-elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said there was no need exchanging fireworks with the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the ruling party has the numbers to produce the Speaker.

The lawmaker addressed reporters in Auchi after distributing empowerment items to 800 residents of his constituency.

He said the Eighth National Assembly dominated by the PDP was an obstacle to the Executive, thereby frustrating developmental plans of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Oghuma said the incoming Ninth National Assembly will ensure harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature to fast-track good governance for the Nigerians.

He said: “Nigerian should expect things to be different this time round. You know it is not too long that I went to the House. I was voted into the National Assembly in February 17, 2017. I discovered that members of my party at the Senate and the House of Representatives were problems to the APC-led government at the centre.

“The Ninth Assembly will collaborate with the Executive. Our role is complementary. No one is an island. We are supposed to work together to give the desire results that Nigerians are yearning for. Our people are suffering.

“President Buhari meant so well for our people; he is not stealing our money. He believes that the people should have what they are entitled to. That is why we will support him and the Judiciary to succeed.”

He said beneficiaries have received training in fishery, tailoring, welding, solar power repairs and installation, cosmetology, CCTV installation and repairs, as well as aluminium fabrication.