Senators from the South-East geopolitical zone have protested the allocation of five Ministerial slots to their region.
They, therefore, urged President Bola Tinubu to appoint at least two additional Igbo ministers.
The senators insisted that they demanded to ensure fairness and justice in the representation of all geopolitical zones in Tinubu’s government.
The Senator representing Anambra North, Tony Nwoye, made the position of the South-East senators known in a motion he moved at the plenary.
The remaining 14 other senators from the region were co-sponsors of the motion.
Nwoye complained that the South-East region has the lowest ministerial representation among those appointed by President Tinubu.
The Anambra Senator claimed that the gesture of the president in the appointment of ministers contravened Section 5 (a) and 5 (b) as well as Section 4 (1) of the Federal Character Commission Act Laws of the Federation, 2004.
He also said insufficient representation from the South-East region in Tinubu’s government does not promote national unity and national loyalty as enshrined in section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Nwoye urged the Senate to appeal to President Bola Tinubu to make additional appointments of at least two ministers from the South-East to balance geopolitical representation in the Tinubu administration.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, after the Anambra Senator’s presentation, promised that the leadership of the Senate would meet with President Tinubu very soon to table the matter before him.
After confirmation of the ministerial nomination, South-South has seven nominees, South-East has five nominees, South-West has nine nominees, North-East has seven, North-West has nine and North-Central has eight.
Meanwhile, a Human Rights Lawyers’ group, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), has lauded the Senate for not giving in to blackmails but taking the path of justice and fairness, to confirm a member of the House of Representatives, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo as minister.
The Senate had on Monday evening, confirmed Tunji-Ojo, and 44 other nominees of President Bola Tinubu, as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Some groups, including a lawyer, had been pushing that the Senate should not confirm Tunji-Ojo, due to alleged discrepancies on his Discharge Certificate from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Addressing Journalists at the National Assembly Edward Omaga, President of the Network, and Director of Legal Services, Denning Akori, said they were at the Senate to monitor the proceedings for the group, having done preliminary investigations into circumstances surrounding the said NYSC certificate.
He said, “One of the noblest things this 10th Assembly has done is not to condone mischiefs and blackmails. The Senate, though gives the public listening ears in matters of national concerns, but must also take its time to do proper investigation and crosscheck facts, so the institution won’t be misled.
“The nomination of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo and the controversies around it has caught our attention, knowing the calibres of people peddling issues around and calling on the Senate not to confirm him as Minister. We thank God the Senate did not listen to them. We hail the Senate for living above board.
“Tunji-Ojo, though we have not met him or had personal contact with him before now, we understand has been a Member of the 9th House of Representatives and served as Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“He contested again in 2023 and won convincingly. In each of the elections, he submitted his details to INEC. Where were these elements then? Why didn’t they raise issues?
“We have taken the pains of doing some background checks and our findings are pointing towards the direction that the young man is being unjustly witch-hunted, for the simple reason that some people do not sanction his nomination.
“How long shall we continue to sacrifice competence and versatility on the altar of politics and sentiments?” the lawyers said.
The group vows to continue to assist the National Assembly and other institutions of Government in proper investigation and if any allegation is found to be true against anyone, no matter how highly placed, they would not also hesitate to drag such a person.
Speaking further, Omaga said, “Remember, in 2021, in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/732/2021 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Global Integrity Crusade Network urged the Court to order the arrest of Kemi Adeosun, a former Nigerian Finance Minister.
“We did that in good spirit, having done a proper investigation of the alleged certificate forgery, even years after she had resigned. That’s to prove to you that we are not pro-government.
“We are with the masses, but it should also be known that we would support the masses only when issues at hand are not clothed with political undertones.”