On the Question of Political Zoning and Equity for Anambra South in 2021, by Ebuka Onyekwelu
Ordinarily, the question of zoning should never arise, rather, the focus should start and end with the quality of leadership, the right individual with the right team, which will deliver unmatched, vision driven, and people oriented governance. However, in Africa, because of the inherent crisis associated with political power, zoning and quota system have become the solution to the frequent crisis that attends political power. Therefore, I attest that power sharing is fair in its entirety and good for stability and progress in Africa. Essentially, zoning intends to address the question of inequity and demand for inclusive governance, this is fundamentally the reason why much emphasis is placed on where a leader comes from, just before the question of what he can offer is considered. But again, political zoning does not in and of its own, discard in whole or part, the demand for quality leadership. Put differently, zoning is not against quality leadership. Nobody says that we should sacrifice quality on the altar of zoning because we can have a position zoned to a place and also have the best possible person emerge winner. Zoning is therefore not an escape route for average, mediocrity or failure, per se.
In about two years, the governorship election contest in Anambra state will be in full gear. As it stands, without mentioning zoning, it still is the popular view that the governorship seat should go to Anambra South senatorial zone. Personally, I do not consider myself an advocate of political zoning, except for the same reason as given above for which zoning has become accepted as a major factor in power sharing, in our clime.
Now on the matter of zoning in Anambra state, frankly, there is no rule or convention on zoning except that in 2013, upon the completion of his two terms of 8 years, the then Governor; Mr. Peter Obi said it was fair and right for Anambra to be governed by someone from Anambra north senatorial zone. To this, there was no consensus as we then had people from different senatorial zone contesting for the ticket of the major political parties and at the end, the election was contested by people from different political zones, across diverse political parties. However, by some mastery and political knowhow, it happened that Chief Willie Obiano from Anambra north, then the candidate of APGA emerged winner of that contest. But in 2017, it indeed appeared like a consensus when all the major candidates in that election came from Anambra north senatorial zone. Although, it was again a free for all contest but truly, one in keeping with this unspoken, unwritten agreement, in the understanding that Anambra north should complete its 8 years so that Anambra south will have its own chance to produce the governor of the state, thereafter. This narrative was advanced in part or whole, by all the political parties then in the contest, especially all major political parties. Which I suppose, forced the PDP candidate; His Honour, Oseloka Obaze, who is from Anambra north, to declare that he will only be governor for a single term, just to complete Anambra north’s tenure. Now, it is explicable that given the nature of the business in question and the very unpredictable character of political power, it amounts to plain naivety to accept comments clearly targeted at gaining some political advantage over opponent(s), especially during political campaigns. However, it does appear that somehow, such comments and body language that power will move from Anambra north to Anambra south, have now been accepted by majority of Anambra people, as the way it will be come 2021 to the detriment of those who may wish to change the narrative to fit into their whimsical disposition.
Across the state, among the voters, there is an unspoken consensus that in 2021, Anambra south will produce the governor of the state. I submit in fairness, that this is equity, more so, in consideration that it is not without prejudice to the quality of leadership Anambra state deserves come 2021. Is it equity to campaign that you will spend just 4 years and then hand over power to south, only to turn around and say that power must not go to south? Granted. Power must not go to south as it were, because there will be free contest still. But clearly, the only basis to have a real political contest to the seat of Anambra governorship, is to have the major political parties produce candidates from Anambra south. Otherwise, other things being equal or merely relative, opposition to the wild spread believe that the governorship of Anambra will come to south, will be roundly defeated by the people in the field. If PDP makes the mistake of producing an Anambra central candidate, it will lose sizeable support base across the three senatorial zones and it will be rejected by the majority of Anambra voters, who now have become apostles of political zoning.
It is therefore right, correct, politically dexterous, and equity, that Anambra south produces the next governor of Anambra state, especially in view of the fact that this cannot impede on the quality of leadership an Anambra south governor will give to Anambra state.
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