A pan-Igbo youth organisation, Anambra Ekunie, on Tuesday cautioned against the promoting of discord and social fragmentation in Anambra State using the zoning of the 2021 governorship election.
It asked those using the zoning claims as a shield to desist from further seeking to balkanize the state, as the idea of zoning ended with the election of Governor Willie Obiano.
Rising from an emergency meeting in Enugu, the group said the insistence by Anambra South that Gov. Obiano’s successor must come from the area, was an unacceptable act of provocation aimed at intimidating other zones to submission.
According to the group, Anambra state remains one and cannot be balkanized by political merchants who see zoning as an avenue to impose someone who will be subservient to them as governor over the state.
A statement signed by President of the group, Dr. Ifeanyi Achusi, said every zone of the state was qualified to contest for the governorship as power had effectively rotated among the three zones since 1999. It said none of the senatorial zones can honestly say it has not taken a chance at governing Anambra state since 1999.
The group also said that Anambra South lacked the moral credibility to insist that it must produce Obiano’s successor since politicians from the zone have contested in every governorship election in the state since 1999.
“We are disturbed by the outcome of a recent meeting of Anambra south political and traditional leaders where they insisted that the zone must produce the next governor in 2021. It seems to us that some politicians are beginning to use the traditional institution to drive a political agenda that could balkanize the state.
“Our cause for worry is that the zone is beginning to act like it can intimidate other zones of Anambra state into submission and silence. That cannot happen. Anambra state belongs to all of us and the governorship of the state is open to every Anambra son and daughter who wants to contest.
“We cannot surrender the state to the whims of Anambra south traditional rulers and politicians including the state chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. That is not possible. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has no say on which zone produces the governor of any state in the southeast. It must not interfere in the internal political issues of any state.
“For emphasis, Anambra South has had the most opportunities to govern the state since 1999. If they failed to make the best use of the opportunity, they cannot now say they were cheated. No one cheated them. If you failed to graduate from the university, it will be uncharitable for you to go telling people that your father did not send you to the university.
“Also, we recall that Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Sen. Andy Uba, Sen. Ikechukwu Obiora, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, Prof. Charles Soludo, Barr. KOP Odidika, Engr. Betram Dim, Dr. Amanchukwu Ezike, Dr. Harry Oranezi, Barr. Obinna Uzor, Barr. Damian Okolo, all from Anambra south, were cleared by the PDP to contest the 2010 governorship election against Obi. Ukachukwu and Uba however moved over to Hope Democratic Party and Labour Party to become their governorship candidates after Prof. Soludo picked the PDP ticket.
“We are aware that politicians from Anambra South have consistently contested in every governorship election in Anambra state. There has never been a time when they pulled out on the grounds that it was the turn of another zone. They contested when Chris Ngige was imposed on us by one of them.
“They contested when Peter Obi was elected for a second term. They contested when Obiano was elected for both his first and second terms. If per chance any of them had won then, would they come now to sing zoning?
“There is no doubt that Anambra state rotates the governorship among the three senatorial zones. But as it is now, all the zones have taken their turns. So, the logical thing to do is to begin the rotation afresh from the zone that wins the 2021 governorship election, not to ask others to stay away and only you to present candidates. That has never been done in Anambra state and will not begin now. Anambra South has no right to disenfranchise any zone of the state. Every qualified Anambra person has the right to vote and also to be voted for.
“In fact, Anambra Ekunie is insisting that it is now the turn of Anambra people to elect their governor. We are done with the imposition of a governor on us. Our people must now rise to demand that their votes count and it must count for the most credible and most competent.
Let all who are interested, male and female, young and old, from all the zones, enter the ring and let the people make their choice. That is our stand”, the statement read.
Anambra Ekunie had in March also warned the Elders’ Council in the state against allowing itself to be used by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to market an internal policy of the party as a statewide decision that is binding on all citizens.
It had told the Elders’ Council that APGA’s decision to zone its governorship ticket to Anambra South is strictly a decision of the party which can not be binding on other political parties in the state.