Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Southeast Development Commission Bill was rejected due to northern gang-up - Goodluck Opiaih

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- Goodluck Opiah is saddened by the rejection of the bill proposing the establishment of a South-East Development Commission during its first reading 

- According to him, the bill was rejected because northern lawmakers opposed its passage 

- The lawmaker appealed to his colleagues in the Green Chamber to have a rethink on the issue 

A member of the House of Representatives Goodluck Opiah has expressed sadness and frustration at the rejection of the bill proposing the establishment of a South-East Development Commission, during its first reading. 

In a recent interview with Daily Post, Opiah, representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West federal constituency of Imo state, disclosed that the bill was rejected due to a gang up by northern lawmakers who opposed to its passage. 

He stated that there was a calculated attempt to marginalize people from the south east. 

Opiah said: “For me, there was a gang up. There was a calculated design to ambush this bill by our colleagues from the North. They said if this is from the Southeast, we should not have it and these things go on and on.

“Today, Southeast is the only geopolitical zone with five states. The rest have six states and of course with Northwest seven states. Can anybody explain that? The number of local government areas from Southeast is far less than what we have elsewhere and where do you place them. 

“South easterners are not anywhere in the civil service, they are not in the Army, Navy, Police, and Airforce and in the whole of Service Chiefs, you cannot find an Igbo man there, so you can see that there is a pattern and a calculated attempt to say these people don’t belong to Nigeria.” 

He expressed frustration over the fact that the northeast had its own development commission, while the south east did not. 

Opiah stated: “If we can establish a commission to take care of northeast, which chose to destroy itself, can you tell me reasons a Commission should not be set up to take care of Southeast which was destroyed by the Federal government of Nigeria? 

“Southeast was destroyed and reduced to rubble and those who survived the war came out to meet economic war.” 

Speaking on an earlier motion for southeast development which was also rejected by northern lawmakers, Opiah said: “Barely a month ago, I sponsored a motion for oil companies to establish offices in states they operate, including Imo and Abia, but it was turned down. 

“Oil is being prospected in Lagos, oil is found in Anambra, Kogi and Enugu now. Efforts to get oil in Bauchi is ongoing and that of Lake Chad in Borno State and it can be anywhere, but our brothers in the North objected to relocating oil firm’s offices from Abuja to Southeast, and South South.” 

He rejected reports that the rejected Southeast Development Commission bill was for political gains. According to him, “It is not a PDP or APC affair. The bill is about the welfare and wellbeing of the people of Southeast.” 

Speaking on the way forward, the lawmaker appealed to his colleagues to have a rethink on the issue.

He appealed to them to go back to the drawing board and readjust their positions in order to allow the bill go through second reading. 

Recall that we had earlier reported that members of the House of Representatives, mainly from the South-East, were protesting in chambers over the withdrawal of the bill seeking to create a South-East Development Commission. 

The House however re-listed the bill following the protests 

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