‘Abia ‘ll not compromise zoning’
Hon. Charles Obioha Ogbonnaya is the Deputy Chief of Staff to Abia State Governor Theodore Orji. He spoke with Correspondent UGOCHUKWU UGOJI-EKE in Umuahia, the state capital, on the controversy over the zoning of the governorship and other issues.
What informed the Abia State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s decison to zone the governorship to the South senatorial zone?
SomeAbians have been condemning the decision by the PDP stakeholders’ meeting.
There are reasons for the zoning. But, some people have argued that the seat should be open while others are of the opinion that it should be zoned to Ukwa/Ngwa area, which is made up of both the Abia Central which has Isiala Ngwa North and South local governmentsand Osisioma local government area, which are all of Ngwa extraction and in Abia south.
Others even quoted the Abia Charter of Equity which according to them said that the governorship seat should be zoned to old Bende and Old Aba divisions. The charter of equity is an unsigned document that cannot be tendered anywhere and is written by elders when the state had part of Ebony state in the state. That document is untenable anywhere as it is full of controversies, contradictions and confusing.
Is the party going to discard the agreement?
Political office distribution are shared according to senatorial zones and I am aware that in 2006 at a meeting held at Okpara auditorium when Chief Uzodinma Okpara was the chairman of the PDP in the state, this contentious issue of zoning of the governorship seat arose and in that meeting a motion was moved by one Chief Ginger Onwusoibe of Isiala Ngwa north local government area asking that the governorship seat having been occupied by the then governor Dr Orji Uzor Kalu from the north, that the next governor should come from the Central which was carried which made the party to zone the seat to Abia central zone.
It does not matter whether people from other zones criticised it or not. But, the electorate adhered strictly to it which was the reason when PPA emerged, it zoned the governorship seat to the central including PDP and at the end Chief Theodore Orji won the governorship seat from the central zone of the state.
Therefore, it is wrong for anyone to start castigating the Abia PDP for zoning the governorship seat to the people of Abia south. I think it is the wisest thing to be done for peace to reign in the state. We must all understand that the weak must be protected. At no time will an Ngwa man be a governor of the state if the seat is made open to all to contest. It has happened before and because the party wants peace, equity and justice, the zoning of that office must be appreciated by all men of good will.
The zoning of the governorship seat to the south does not in any way stop other aspirants from other zones from running, after all every candidate must emerge through the party primaries, so it is now left for the south to appreciate what the party has done and produce the governor in 2015 or sell the position to either Abia north or central in the next election.
Is the governor and the party sincere about zoning?
The governor from time stated early enoughs that he will hand over to an Ngwa man, in one of the ceremonies where he was received by Ngwa people at Abia Poly in Aba, the governor said, “As a person I will definitely hand over to a person from Ngwa”, but the party has said that the position is not handed over but zoned to a particular area of the state.
What the governor said was his personal opinion and he is not the party, but this time the party has spoken in fact re-echoed what the governor had said earlier. Therefore if a man from that zone fails to win at the primaries, then it will be nobody’s fault, as it will be their fault. It behoves on them to put their house in order, “As a delegate during the primaries I will vote for a man from the south”.
PDP believes in zoning right from the ward level up to the presidency, so a party like PPA should stop meddling in the affairs of the PDP and if they think that they have the muscle to produce a governor outside what the PDP has done, they should zone it to another area and see if they will win the seat in 2015.
This noise about zoning is a way to distract the governor from engaging on the good works he is doing in the state. As far as Abians are concerned, the governor is doing well. He has done well by fulfilling all his electoral promises and is putting finishing touches to enable him handover to a governor from the southern part of the state. The governor is a busy man preparing all the legacy projects for the presidential commissioning and there will be no abandoned projects in the state.
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