By Casmir Igbokwe
It is no longer news that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has zoned the 2021 governorship position to Anambra South. Presumably, this is to achieve equity, considering that the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, is from Anambra North. Thus, different southern candidates are at home with this idea and are gearing up for the big contest in 2021.
The snag here is that, even in Anambra South, there are subdivisions. People from the Old Aguata Union (OAU), comprising Aguata, Orumba North and Orumba South local government areas, want the governorship position to come to their side. People from Old Nnewi Forum, comprising Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo local government areas, want the position as well.
Leading the agitation for a governor from OAU is former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife. Recently, he hosted stakeholders, including traditional rulers and president-generals of the 45 communities in old Aguata, in his country home, Igboukwu. Supporters of different candidates from the area were there in full force. They all want their candidates to be the preferred choice of OAU.
Some prominent aspirants from the zone include the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo; an industrialist, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, and billionaire philanthropist, Dr. Godwin Maduka. Ezeemo, who is from Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area, was the governorship candidate of the Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA) in the 2017 election in the state. In that election, he condemned zoning and declared that Anambra had no zoning formula on governorship poll. Today, the man is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and has no problem with zoning anymore. All he wants now is for the OAU to ensure fairness in its choice of a candidate. This is deceitful.
Also playing a deceitful and chameleonic game is Senator Uche Ekwunife. She is currently romancing the OAU and has vociferous supporters who champion her interests in the group. A native of Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra South, Ekwunife is married to an Nri man from Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra Central. She and her supporters have thrown a dice. They can either claim South or Central, depending on where the bread will be better buttered.
True, women have dual citizenship. Daisy Danjuma, for instance, is from Taraba by marriage but represented her native Edo in the Senate, between 2003 and 2007. Also, Stella Oduah is from Anambra but married to Edo. She currently represents Anambra North in the Senate. These women chose to represent their native states in the Senate. There is nothing wrong with that.
But, Mrs. Ekwunife has chosen to represent her husband’s place, Anambra Central, in the Senate. Coming back to claim her native zone in the governorship contest because she feels it confers a better political advantage on her shows signs of unfaithfulness and unreliability. In American politics, such double talk would be seriously held against her and she would be seen to be untrustworthy. She is either Anambra South or Anambra Central. Period! Since the PDP has discountenanced zoning, she should stand firm and contest as a candidate from the Central constituency. It does not stop her from campaigning in the South. She has the pedigree and capacity to win, irrespective of where she comes from.
It is important to note that zoning has not been in the lexicon of Anambra State. It was when former governor Peter Obi was about to leave office in 2014 that the ruling party felt the position should go to the North because nobody from that zone had been governor. Hence, APGA sold Obiano to the people of the state. The verdict on the governor’s performance will come after his tenure.
Until then, the people of Anambra South should stop cutting off their nose to spite their face. They should remember that candidates from the South have always contested governorship elections in the state, zoning or no zoning. In 2014, some of them contested against Obiano even when APGA had zoned it to the North.
Ordinarily, being from Anambra South myself, I ought to support zoning the governorship to the South. But I cannot, because it will favour me today, agitate for what will ultimately be to my disadvantage. I want to support a candidate from the South because of his pedigree and competence, not because he is from the South. Anambra State is homogenous. It should do away with zoning. Otherwise, it will further polarise the politics of the state. It is already happening with the old Aguata and old Nnewi dichotomy in Anambra South.
This is why the PDP should not succumb to the zoning agitation by some of its members. The doors of the party should remain open for a good candidate from any part of the state. Such aspirants as Ezeemo, Chris Azubogu, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, Osita Chidoka, Oseloka Obaze and Ekwunife are good and can turn the fortunes of the state around. Let these candidates woo the delegates with their manifestos and good programmes and not with sentiment.
One other character flaw of our politicians is jumping from one party to the other. Today, they are in PDP because they feel the party is better organised. Tomorrow, they are in APGA because they feel the party is popular in the state. There is no ideology, no principle and no shame.
By and large, the critical instruments for any election in Anambra State are the grassroots, the church and traditional institutions. The 2021 election will not be about party. It’s about the force a candidate is coming with. If the relatively unknown Young Progressives Party (YPP), represented by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, could beat the All Progressives Congress (APC), PDP and APGA in the last senatorial election, then anything can happen. There could be serious upsets in the election. The concern of the parties should be to present good and bankable candidates, not on account of zoning but on merit.
Re: Mixed grill over national anti-corruption war
Nigeria’s fight against corruption has merely assumed the movement of a crab, one step forward, one and a half steps backward! This is so because the fight is unarguably founded on witch-hunting, deceit, tribalism, sectionalism and politics: politics of 2023 inclusive. The legislative arm of government is bereft of its true voice, lacks the required bite of robust and independent legislation.
Under the judiciary, the courts (inclusion of the apex court) even in the face of weighty and overwhelming evidence, are always in a hurry to dismiss obvious corruption charges and political cases against government-anointed individuals “for lack of merit.” The executive, which controls the army, police, DSS, EFCC, uses these ever-willing agencies to trample on the other arms of government or cross its territorial boundary.
How would Nigeria be equated with Algeria, Israel, Egypt, etc, where the corruption fight blasts and convicts past corrupt leaders? Or is our corruption fight not bugged by an unwritten law that shields past corrupt heads of state/presidents from trial and conviction? It is no longer news that only ex-governors, whether corrupt or not corrupt, are brought to book or convicted. A good fight that has eyes and is woven in intrigues will always remain a successful failure.
– Edet Essien Esq., +2348037952470
Dear Casy, APC-led federal government is not fighting corruption holistically. My reason is that 90 per cent of the people who funded Buhari’s campaign in 2015 were corrupt. How many of them have been jailed? Oga Buhari’s appointments in key MDAs are full of corruption. Some former APC governors who ruined their states financially are still enjoying their loot under Buhari’s watch. It is under this APC that python, gorilla and monkey stole our money and none of them was caught.
– Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
Cas, the most important message is that the fight has gained vigour. That is what it should be, and the president should not relent, but should fight the war to the next level. There is corruption in every aspect of our national life. The war should be total. Cas, please, do something about a hundred fake professors discovered in Nigerian universities by the executive secretary of National Universities Commission. This is the highest level of corruption in the land. Our citadels of learning should not be left to die like that.
– Pastor Livy Onyenegecha, Ibeku Okwuato Mbaise, Imo State, 08036174573
Dear Casmir, I guess it is no hate speech to say that President Buhari’s so-called fight against corruption now amounts to dressing the windows of some unlucky fall guys like our friend, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu. In his first outing as military leader in 1983/84, he gleefully hauled a large number of governors then into jail for as much as 120 years, because he decreed a convoluted jurisprudence of “firstly you are guilty, now prove your innocence, before a military tribunal.”
– Dr. Chuka Nwosu, +2348037254371
Casmir, the war against corruption can’t be fought by pretenders. It’s not won by proliferation of committees or on the pages of newspapers/TV stations. It’s not won by deceit and propaganda. Winning the war against corruption needs willpower and change of attitude. It is a subconscious, in-built facility that empowers one to do good and reject bad.
– Pharm. Okwy Njike, +2348038854922
Our anti-corruption agencies are trying their best to eradicate corruption. But their effort is not enough because there are some corrupt, never-do-well leaders who are supposed to be in jail, but they are walking free.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348088412165
- First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, December 23, 2019