ENGR. CHRIS AZUBOGUNEWSOPINION

Anambra 2021: Of PDP and zoning

By Mezie Akabudu

Ever since the return of democratic governance in Nigeria in 1999 zoning has become a sing song in party politics. And this brings me to the title of this article; Anambra 2021: Of PDP and zoning.

During the second republic that lasted from 1979 to 1983, little was heard of zoning. Even though Nigerian politicians then had a way of sharing political offices.

At the national level where the then National Party of Nigeria(NPN) held sway, President Shehu Shagari came from the North, the Vice President, Alex Ekwueme was from the East, the Senate President, Joseph Wayas was from Cross River in what we now know as the South South, the Speaker of the Federal House, Edwin Umezeoke was from the East, though a member of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), it will be note-worthy to mention here that both the vice president and the speaker of the house were from the same senatorial zone, not just from the same state. While Adisa Akinloye the party Chairman was from the South West.

Back home in the then Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo the governor, was from Enugu Senatorial zone, his deputy, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the party Chairman were all from Onitsha senatorial zone.

So you would see that in the second republic zoning was never an issue. Then how did zoning become an issue in the fourth republic.

In the failed attempt at the third republic when Gen. Ibraheem Badamosi Babangida (IBB) annulled the presumed most free and fair election to have ever been conducted in Nigeria, the shouts of marginalization and the call for rotation of power became the order of the day.

In 1994 Constitutional Conference Dr. Alex Ekwueme of the blessed memory recommended the breaking of the nation into six geo-political zones and let power rotate among the six zones. The conference adopted the six zones arrangement but recommended that political power be made to rotate between the three zones of the north and the three zones of the south. The six geo-political zones arrangement was adopted for political considerations, but zoning of any sort was never made constitutional.

So with the return of democracy in 1999, in Anambra State Gov Chinwoke Mbadinuju from Anambra South became the first Gov of the state, followed by Gov Chris Ngige, and Gov Peter Obi from the central. In between Gov Obi’s tenure we had two circumstantial governors in Dame Virginia Etiaba and Senator Andy Uba both from Anambra South. After Gov Peter Obi came the incumbent Gov Williams Obiano.

Between 1999 till date people from all the three zones of the state have always contested under one party or the other in all the Governorship election held in the state.

The PDP leadership in her wisdom unlike APC and APGA decided not to zone the Governorship to any particular zone.

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This has been paying off for the party as aspirants from the three zones have made the party strong with each aspirant bringing to bear their strengths in their zones.

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However, this advantage may turn to disadvantage if not properly managed by the party leadership.

Definitely the sentiment in the State now is for the next governor to come from the south. As such if PDP fails to pick a candidate from the south winning the November 6th governorship election will become an uphill task as there seem to be a consensus among peoples of Anambra North and South that the next governor should come from the South.

If PDP fails to organise a free and fair primaries whereby the losers will be happy and still remain and work for the success of the party in the November elections the advantage of having aspirants from the three zones will become disadvantageous.

Therefore, the fate of the party come November 6, lies in the hands of the delegates to the June 26, congress.

I call on the delegates to give us Chris Azubogu, as he is the most prepared, the most acceptable aspirant from Anambra South. Above all he is the aspirant from Anambra South with the highest capacity to galvanize the other aspirants after the primaries, towards winning the November 6 election.

#OgeErugo #MrProject

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