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National assembly leaders must emerge through persuasion — Buowe

Ben Agande, Kaduna.

Ben Agande, Kaduna.

In this interview, the National Convener of the Isoko Equity Group, Barrister Silas Buowe speaks on why the Minister that will represent Delta state in the federal executive council should come from Isoko land. He says though the APC should be involved in the politics of who becomes the speaker of the house of Representatives and president of the senate, the party cannot impose it’s will on members of the national assembly

The Isoko Equity Group recently raised the alarm over alleged marginalisation of Isoko nation in the scheme of things. Can you explain what you mean?

We are marginalised in two broad ways. The first one is in terms of citing infrastructure. Isoko is grossly marginalised in the sense that we have not experienced any government presence in the two local governments that make up Isoko nation. There is no federal government institutions, no road or any project of the federal governments except police station and electricity company. Apart from this there is nothing we can refer to as the federal government of Nigeria from independence till date.

In terms of appointment into government position, we have not had the opportunity of occupying any. Even the Niger Delta Development Commission, we have not had the opportunity of having any major appointment.

Your critics have alleged that what you have got so far is commensurate with your numerical strength and it will be asking for too much of Isoko to insist that it should produce the minister from the state.

People tend to misconstrue the number of local governments to mean the population of the place. They are two different things. Local government is purely for administrative convenience. That you have 44 local governments in Kano state does not make Kano bigger than Delta. The number of local governments in an area is delineation for administrative convenience. Isoko is the most populous ethnic group in Delta south senatorial District. The various population census from 1963 are there for anyone to verify. It is the second most populous ethnic group in Delta state. We are not the least in terms of population and if population is anything to go by, we should be adequately patronised.

Politically speaking, what has Isoko brought to the table?

All of the other tribes that have had ministerial positions in the past have not done anything extraordinary that Isoko did not do. We gave APC 30% of the votes in Delta state, which is a difficult terrain. I think we deserve commendation. Our focus is on the ministerial appointment. We insist that we should get our fair share of what is being shared in the country. I believe that the president will listen to us. There are lots of infrastructure going on in the southern part of the country. We should e beneficiaries of this largese of the federal government.

The APC leadership has endorsed some legislators to be the president of the senate and speaker of the House of Representatives. As a former lawmaker, what is your view on this?

The legislature is an independent arm of government that should be allowed to take its decision on its leaders. The senators should be allowed to choose their leader and same with the House of Representatives. The leadership of both houses must emerge based on a democratic process.

Democratically speaking, it is not for the party to decide who gets the leadership of the national assembly but the Party must be involved in who becomes the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the senate through negotiation and persuasion. It should not be by fiat.

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