2023: Ebonyi debates on governorate zoning
Nigerian News Agency
Although all senatorial areas have served as Governor of Ebonyi for two terms, there is currently one issue that is at the forefront. Which zone should start the second phase of governor rotation?
Ebonyi, created in 1996 during the military regime of Head of State Sani Abacha, was extracted from Enugu and Abia states. As a result of the political settlement of the country, the state has three senatorial zones: Ebonyi North, Ebonyi Central (Abakaliki bloc) and Ebonyi South (Afikpo bloc)
Gov. Dave Umahi subtly raised the issue of the bloc when he recently allowed gubernatorial hopefuls in his cabinet to start consultations.
Umahi spoke through Mr. Uchenna Orji, the State Information and Guidance Commissioner, when he briefed reporters shortly after the extended executive council meeting.
According to him: “The President-in-Council announced the lifting of the ban on political consultations ahead of the 2023 general election.
“He expressed his determination to consult widely, especially with the House of Assembly, the EXCO, the Council of Elders, the Founding Fathers, women’s organizations, the CAN and other relevant groups in order to obtain opinions on where the vote will be divided. governorship.
“For the post of governor, he made it clear that Ebonyi Sur, which has benefited from the zoning principle, will not be able to compete as his administration’s support will go to the Abakaliki bloc.
“EXCO took note of the intention of the president of the Council and began the debate on where the governorship will be divided between the north and central zones.”
Senator Sam Egwu, the first civil governor of Ebonyi, also lent his voice to the zoning.
Egwu, now the incumbent senator
representing Ebonyi North
area on the PDP platform, however, was specific, that Ebonyi North should produce the next governor. He even narrowed it down to Izzi, the most dominant clan in the area.
He recently spoke at his farmhouse, Umuebe Ezzangbo, Ebonyi’s Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
“At the end of my last term in 2007, almost everyone was interested in the position and, depending on the situation, I called for a procedure to be followed so that each zone knows its turn.
“It is with this arrangement that Elechi emerged from the Central Ebonyi Zone, we advocated for the South but some people opposed it, but we campaigned vigorously for the South, through which Umahi became the governor until now.
“Then, since the beginning had been turned around, power should return to where it started to maintain the trend,” stressed the former governor.
“Ebonyi North Zone has waited for 16 years and therefore the people must produce the next governor, I have shared the same opinion before and they supported me. I am sure that the current government will also do the same because anything to the contrary will not be ideal for the state,” he explained.
He called on stakeholders to support the arrangement, adding that “by God, in 2023, Izziman will become the next governor of Ebonyi.”
Although the zoning issue has yet to be resolved, Senator Obinna Ogba, the incumbent Senator representing Ebonyi Central Zone and Mr. Chris Osulor, Member of the Ebonyi House of Assembly (PDP-Ezza South) have indicated interest in running for governor.
The two legislators are members of the PPD and the Central Ebonyi Zone.
Ogba outlined his manifesto recently, emphasizing that the zoning agreement was not binding on any applicant, as applicants were free to compete for the governorship or any other office of their choosing.
However, Ogba, former chairman of the Ebonyi PDP, said that as
a true party man would comply or a decision would be reached on the issue.
Osulor, for his part, alluded to the unresolved issue of zoning.
The legislator further said that the state’s next governor may come from Ezza or Izzi, the two main clans in the Abakaliki bloc that have yet to produce a governor.
“The clamor everywhere is that other clans should allow the Ezza clan, who is the eldest son of Ezekuna, to produce the next governor of the state.
“In general, the position of the people in the Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone is that it is their turn to produce the governor.
“An average Izzi man will also be clamoring that it’s his turn. But the resolution of the State Executive Council has given the two zones an equal opportunity to compete for this position. And so, any of the clans can take it.”
Mr. Abia Onyike, former Information Commissioner in Ebonyi, stated that the governorship game in Ebonyi is essentially a “tug of war” between two major clans: Izzi and Ezza.
For the Ezza clan, they have two great LGAs: Ezza North and Ezza South. They also have a strong presence in the Ishielu, Ohaukwu, Onicha and Ivo LGAs.
On the other hand, the Izzi clan has three major LGAs: Izzi, Abakaliki, and Ebonyi.
He listed the main Ezza gladiators as: Anayo Edwin Nwonu (PDP), Senator Igwe Nwagu (PDP), Professor Bernard Odo, former Secretary of State Government (APC) and Mr. Chris Osulor, Member of the House of Representatives of Ebonyi State. Assembly (PDP).
Others are Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo, former Minister of State for Health (PDP), Chief Austin Igwe Edeze (APC), Dr. Ezeh Emmanuel Ezeh (PDP) Mr. Francis Nwifuru, Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Ebonyi State (APC), among others.
“By all indications, the Izzi clan in the North Ebonyi senatorial district appears to be having a head start as the governorship zoning debate rages in the state. “Political analysts believe that the governorship may need to return to Ebonyi North, where it all initially started in 1999 when Dr. Sam Egwu was elected.
“If that happens, then Chief Elias Mbam, one of the top APC candidates, has a chance to become governor if he can defeat the other candidates,” the former NUJ deputy national chair said.
Although Mbam has not declared his intention to run for governor, people are urging him to join the gubernatorial race.
Mbam, who is from the Izzi clan, said he would consolidate the achievements of democracy in Ebonyi beyond 2023 and stimulate the development of infrastructure and human capital in Ebonyi.
Residents in separate interviews in Abakaliki also noted that Ebonyi was gifted with capable hands to steer the ship of state.
One of the respondents, a civil servant, urged Mbam to be available for the gubernatorial race in 2023.
He described Mbam as a consummate technocrat, politician and official expert, who would deploy his wealth of experience to sustain, stimulate and deepen the achievements of democracy in the state if elected governor.
“Mbam has been in a leadership position since the dawn of this current dispensation in 1999 and has held different executive positions at various times at Ebonyi, where he proved to be a seasoned administrator.
“RMAFC Chairman was first appointed Goodluck Jonathan and through his rare show of ingenuity in his first term as RMAFC Chairman, Buhari was re-elected for a second term.
“Ebonyi needs a man with so much experience, especially in the global political economy, that he will put his great knowledge to use in state government,” Elom said.
He added: “The current zoning deal in the state will see power transferred to the Ebonyi North senatorial district, where Mbam comes from, so he should use this advantage to offer his service to the people.”
Another respondent, a retired civil servant, said that Mbam’s governorship would serve the interests of the poor, the rich, the small and the powerful in society.
He described Mbam as a selfless and humble politician who has touched many lives and empowered many young people and widows in his community and Ebonyi in general.
“Although at some point I read in the news that Mbam said that at the moment he is more concerned with fulfilling his duties as president of RMAFC.
“He should begin now to contemplate serving his people in a higher capacity and as such be available to run for governor of the state in 2023.
“He has all the necessary qualities to offer the State good governance and credible leadership; therefore, I urge you to throw your ‘hat’ into the ring in the 2023 gubernatorial race,” he said.
To be sure, the right to participate in elections is a constitutional right, but zoning and rotation of powers are essential to ensure fairness and stability. (Characteristics)
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