There has been the insistence by well-meaning individuals and groups that the next governor of Anambra State after Chief Willie Obiano should come from Anambra South.
The case being made for Anambra South to produce Obiano’s successor is anchored on the zoning system, said to have been adopted for the rotation of governorship seat among the three senatorial districts by stakeholders in the state.
It is being rightly and vehemently argued that nothing should stop the people of Anambra South from taking their turn after Anambra Central and Anambra North have had theirs in ex-Governor Peter Obi and incumbent Governor Obiano respectively.
For instance, the president of Anambra State Chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Emeka Udodeme, had declared that the zoning arrangement and understanding reached for the governorship seat by the people of Anambra State through the stakeholders remains sacrosanct and should be respected by all and sundry.
According to Udodeme, the resolution for governmental power to rotate among the three senatorial districts in Anambra which was taken during the time of Obi, was meant to give a sense of belonging to all the zones, thereby engendering peace, harmony and unity amongst the people.
He noted that it would be against the principle of fairness, equity and justice for anyone to oppose the zoning agreement now that it is the turn of Anambra South to produce the governor after Anambra Central and North have had their shots.
Speaking in a media chat, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo chieftain said: “This zoning arrangement was done when I was a President General and publicity secretary of all the PGs. The traditional rulers, the elders’ council, the ASATU, that is, the Anambra State Association of Town Unions – all of us agreed that we should go for zoning. That was why the governorship seat went to Anambra North Senatorial District after Peter Obi had done 8 years. Peter Obi is from Anambra Central Senatorial District. The present governor hails from Anambra North and by next year he must have served out his tenure of 8 years. Therefore, fairness, equity and justice demand that it should go to Anambra South Senatorial District. It is still our stand that it is the turn of Anambra South to produce the governor of Anambra State, as political parties conduct primaries to pick their candidates for the November 6, 2021 governorship election.”
On the argument by some that competence should be placed above zoning, Udodeme who is from Anambra Central averred that “Peter Obi from central senatorial district did so well as a governor. Willy Obiano from Anambra North is doing excellently well. Anambra South equally has people who have the competence and capacity to govern the state. They have intellectuals that are capable of offering Anambra people effective leadership and good governance. So, we don’t have any reason to deviate from the zoning arrangement. Those that are opposing zoning, are they saying there are no competent and intelligent people from Anambra South? What exactly are they saying?
“Anyway, we have reaffirmed our support and insisted that the zoning arrangement remains sacrosanct. And believe you me if any political party produces a candidate from any senatorial district other than Anambra South that party will fail. I am not God. But I am quite certain that that party will fail. Of course, you know in the southern senatorial zone they are politically inclined. They are the highest in number. They have about 78 communities. The central has about 58 communities and the north has about 48 communities.
“I should plead with those who are saying no to please respect this zoning arrangement. If you come to Anambra State now apart from this insecurity everywhere in the country, it is calm. Unlike when it was open for everybody you see a lot of tension. Everywhere is quite calm because of this zoning arrangement. So, we all have benefited and we want it to continue. Anambra State is very peaceful because of the zoning. There is no tension.”
He disclosed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has gone round the three senatorial zones to remind the people and the political parties of the need to stick to the zoning accord signed by the stakeholders on behalf of Anambrarians.
He said: “What we are doing is to remind the political parties the stand of all elders, stakeholders and everybody in Anambra State so that they will be careful in selecting the persons they will present as their candidates and avoid mistakes that will haunt them in the general election.”
So far, two of the major political parties contesting in the governorship election holding on November 6 have done their primaries. The candidates of the two parties – Young Progressives Party (YPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – are from Anambra South.
While Ifeanyi Ubah, the Senator currently representing Anambra South Senatorial District, emerged as the YPP’s guber candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, erstwhile Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), clinched the ticket of APGA to stand as the party’s candidate.
The two other top political parties partaking in the governorship race – Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress (APC) – will be holding their primaries on Saturday, June 26, 2021.
It is hoped that the PDP and APC will equally look towards the direction of Anambra South as they take the decision on who represents them in the 2021 Anambra gubernatorial poll.