As the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu finally realises his ‘It is my turn (Emi lokan) plea’ with his historic inauguration as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria today, (May 29, 2023) a leading candidate for the position of Senate President, Senator Osita Izunaso has also cried out that it is his turn too to become the President of the Senate.
Senator Osita Izunaso who spoke to journalists shortly after the Interdenominational service held at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja declared that for justice, fairness and equity, the new President of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the leadership of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress APC should consider service and sacrifice to the party in deciding who to support for the position of senate president.
The South-East born Senator stated that he is more qualified and suitable for the position than all the other contenders in terms of competence, experience, education, knowledge, integrity, loyalty and commitment to the party and that APC should compensate his sacrifice, dedication and loyalty to the party by supporting him for the position.
Senator Izunaso explained that he yielded his time, energy and all in him together with the likes of elder statesman, Chief Bisi Akande and the current Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fahola to build the party from scratch and served as the National Organizing Secretary for five years without any blemish, maintaining that it would be grossly unfair and unjust for the leadership of the party to deny him the senate presidency when, according to him, he is the best among the contestants.
Beyond building and sacrificing for the party, Osita Izunaso disclosed further that he went through hell during the campaign for the presidential election when some key figures in his local government and senatorial district were cruelly slaughtered just because they were supporting and urging people to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
His words: “I am a founding member of APC, we travelled to Lagos every weekend for good six months during the formation stages, to coin the name and get it right, we designed the logo, bringing together components of other parties making up the proposed APC then before going for registration in the Corporate Affairs Commission. Governor Fashola is alive today, he knows all I am saying because he was part of the whole thing from day one.
“We conducted 36 governorship primaries, there was not a single litigation, why, because we did the right thing. You will agree with me that, that is what it means to show capacity. You know we battled a sitting President, therefore, we needed to do everything right to wrestle power from them; so if I could hold the Party at that level from its formation stage when we didn’t even know we were going to win, why won’t I be able to lead the Red Chambers effectively as Senate President?
“So for me, I can actually say, it should be a payback time for me, having sacrificed my time, energy, scarce resources and services for the APC. I think it is only fair and just for the party to think it wise to compensate me, I think the time is now.
“Having served selflessly without blemish through rain and shine, during turbulent times when there was no ray of hope for the Party, I think I deserve to be compensated; and having contested election and fortunately returned to the Senate, I think I am well qualified to vie for the position of the Senate President, and why won’t I seek for it and why would APC in their wisdom not consider and compensate me? I’ve paid my dues in the party, I have sacrificed a lot enough to earn me adequate compensation from the APC; if I am not qualified, that should had been a different ball game.
“The people dragging the position of Senate President with me today were in PDP, they were not in APC, they castigated the party then as ‘dead on arrival’ during the formation stage, and recall, PDP did everything within their powers then to frustrate the registration of the party at the Corporate Affairs Commission because they were in power.
“We formed and funded the Party, nurtured and ran it through its formation stage till today, some of them just joined the Party about 4-5years ago. Yes, it is said the more the merrier, so, we heartily welcome them to APC, but if we hadn’t sustained the Party and won, they may not have joined.”
Speaking on the claim that the South-East did not vote enough for the party to deserve the nation’s No 3 position, Senator Izunaso said: “Every APC candidate that emerged victorious in the 2023 elections from the Southeast geopolitical zone deserves commendation. Our victory is like the proverbial camel passing through the eye of a needle. It was not funny at all, because this time around, the Southeast had a major frontline Presidential candidate who enjoyed massive support and sympathy from voters of the zone. It was not an easy election I can say that a million times.
“I was elected into the House of Reps as far back as 2003 and into the Senate in 2007, but before then, I had worked in the House of Representatives as a staff, also worked in the Senate as staff and I’m not sure any of my contemporaries have that pedigree, all I’m saying that, I am the most qualified at this point in time for the President of the 10th Senate; therefore, it should be a PAY BACK TIME FOR ME,” he concluded.