1108 views | Law Mefor | May 7, 2021
A maxim of justice states: “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” This maxim bars relief for anyone guilty of improper conduct in a matter at hand. It operates to prevent any affirmative recovery for the person with “unclean hands,” no matter how unfairly the person’s adversary has treated him or her. This applies completely to the quest for the Nigerian President of South East extraction. The South East States that repudiate zoning and rotation have no moral or legal reasons to urge or compel any political party to zone its presidential ticket to the zone. Anambra 2021 is the example in view, where some politicians are fighting for the jettisoning of zoning and rotation for less than a noble reason.
Equity sees that what ought to be done is done, and equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy. Equity delights in equality and one who seeks equity must do equity. Politicians from the South East States cannot ask the rest of the country to do equity by rotating the President of Nigeria to their zone while at the same time rejecting the same principles in their respective States. That is why equity imposes an obligation on the claimant to qualify to gain from it.
It is therefore rather embarrassing how some South East politicians are whining for ‘Nigerian President of South East Extraction’ but repudiate same rotation and zoning principles within their own states and their zone. For Anambra State particularly, zoning and rotation have been the convention since 1999 and these equity principles have brought much stability, unity and even development.
Instructively, zoning within rotation was written into the PDP party’s Constitution in 2009. Article 7(2c) of the PDP constitution states that: ‘In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices, and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels.’ Further amendments of the PDP Constitution never tampered with this express provision for rotation and zoning in the party.
If Anambra politicians for example do not respect zoning and rotation, can they justifiably clamour for the same gesture from other Nigerians? They should allow the rest of the country to freely choose their President where they may in 2023. Those who argue otherwise argue amiss; what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
The case of Anambra State particularly is very crucial and exemplary. There has been a convention on rotation of governorship power between the 3 senatorial districts since this present democratic dispensation took root, and this beautiful arrangement has allowed the governorship to rotate between them without rancor and about to return to Anambra South, where it all began in 1999. The spin doctors are now inciting others that since the governorship has gone round the three senatorial districts, it should be left free so that whoever has the capacity can grab it.
Some have also argued that zoning and rotation have not helped Anambra State, pointing to the incumbent governor (Willie Obiano) as having posted an underwhelming performance. This is arguable because Willie Obiano cannot be said to be such a disaster as to justify the feeble call for the jettisoning of these redemptive principles that is turning Anambra into a one-city State. Willie, at worst, is an average performer, and has been able to sustain his predecessors’ key legacies, especially in the areas of security and education. He has also added a few legacies of his own in rural development and agriculture, and just dropped the cargo airport as his most sublime legacy project, which is capable of opening the South East to the world.
Even if Willie has failed abysmally as opposition claims, it was not zoning that brought him upon Anambra State. He was enjoying his retirement as an erstwhile banker in the US when he was brought down to become the governor of a State he wasn’t living in, never lived in and only occasionally visited from Lagos and abroad.
Those who honed politics and participation in the State and worked with then governor, Peter Obi, could not succeed him for some baffling reasons. So, why should the Willie example that is not even such a bad case, be used as a veritable reason to discredit zoning and rotation? Fact is: zoning and rotation have remained a blessing particularly to Anambra state and should be allowed to continue for its great value and quintessence.
Yes, the three senatorial districts have all produced Governors at least once since 1999. For refreshing, Their Excellencies Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Anambra South), Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige and Mr. Peter Gregory Obi (Anambra Central) and currently Chief Willie Obiano (Anambra North) have all governed Anambra State in that order and it is the turn of Anambra South to have a shot at it again after 17 years of waiting in the wings. The second time the South produced the governor in the person of Dr. Andy Uba was equally cut short by the courts after a spell of just 17 days and Mbadinuju was there only for one term.
Those propagating this inglorious reversal of zoning and rotation principles in Anambra and the South East do so essentially for their ‘belle’ and greed. For some aspirants, they cannot wait for the turn of their zones. For most career politicians, politics is business as they do not have a second business address. So, asking them to wait for one or two election seasons to push aspirants and candidates from their zone is unendurable.
Election to them is as Christmas season is to Onitsha and Aba traders. It is a bazaar of sorts, and an occasional opportunity to push out and set up as many aspirants as possible for milking. Every election therefore is an opportunity that has to be maximized, which zoning and rotation may not allow. Now that the governorship has made the rounds it has to return to Anambra South, the same way the South East is clamoring that power has to return to the Southern part of Nigeria particularly to the South East 2023.
Denying Anambra South their turn has grave implications. Going by capacity, Anambra South may not need help in a free-for-all election when push comes to shove. One great thing about the Anambra case is that Anambra South, whose turn it is to produce the next Governor of Anambra, is the richest senatorial district in the state. Nnewi alone has over 30 billionaires who can come together and keep the governorship in the Anambra South forever.
Those who ignore history are said to be condemned to a repeat class. What is unfolding in Anambra is akin to what has happened to the South East for supporting Jonathan to spun zoning and contest in 2015. Now, the South East zone is on its knees begging for what could have been theirs on the platter, just as Adamu Ciroma predicted and warned them then.
What goes around comes around. Those pushing the jettisoning of zoning and rotation in Anambra State and in the South East are just bent on scoring an own goal. The rest of the country is watching the double standards. It has consequences.
By the way, yours sincerely is from Anambra Central and stands for justice and equity.
Dr. Law Mefor, from Anambra Central, is an Abuja based Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist; Tel.: +234- 905-642-4375 e-mail: email@example.com; Tweet@LawMefor1