By Anayo Ezugwu
AHEAD of the Anambra State governorship election in 2021, Valentine Ozigbo, governorship aspirant, on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said that zoning formula in the state will not stop him from winning the election. He said he is in the race to win.
Speaking at a virtual meeting with southeast media chiefs on Thursday, June 18, Ozigbo said he was not in the race because of zoning, and with or without zoning, he believed that he has what it takes to lead and to win. “Zoning is an interesting subject. But the way I always like to approach this question is to put a preface there. And that preface is, I am in this race to win. I’m in this race not to experiment; I’m not in this race because of zoning. So with or without zoning, I believe that I have what it takes to lead and to win.
“So because once you start to talk about zoning, some mindsets begin to change as though this is why you’re running. So I need to put this context. Now, zoning or no zoning, you could argue on both sides. We have seen examples of where zoning has done wonders from across the world, and it is what is practiced by global institutions and I’d like to give examples like the World Bank and the IMF.
“The idea is always not to overlook competency even in the practice of zoning. When you want to talk about zoning in Nigeria, you talk about the six geopolitical zones. And who started it? An Anambra man, Alex Ekwueme. He’s one of those if not the person, the key architect of that formula.
“We use zoning to achieve equity and balance. And I think it’s a good thing personally. I think the issue of zoning in Anambra has gone beyond me, you, and anybody who may feel otherwise. And the reason I say this is yes, Peter Obi started the zoning formula and for good reasons. He figured out that the central had been there for 11 years. Ngige and him altogether, three and eight, 11 years.
“So he saw need to say to Anambra South, please, we’d like rather move to the north so we can give them a chance to govern Anambra state. And this is how Obiano emerged. And I remember in 2017 when the next election was coming close, this issue became topical. You would see all manner of opinion molders coming out to speak.
“It never stopped other people from other zones from contesting. So the issue is do you want to disenfranchise others? But the point here is that they are just coming out for other reasons, not to win the election. Because of the momentum that zoning goes with, it is almost impossible for anybody to counter.
“Because people argued, when Obiano was contesting, Ezeimo ran. That’s okay, but where did Ezeimo get to? Did he even win his ward? The point here is people can run, people are allowed to run. No constitution or law forbids anybody to run. But when the people say… and who are these people that say, and pay attention, everybody that matters. From the Elders Forum, they are saying zoning.
“Association of Town Unions is saying zoning. The Igwe Council says zoning. The Ohaneze Ndigbo says zoning. The professionals and trade unions are saying zoning. Who is remaining in Anambra state? It’s only those who are running for their personal reasons and those whom they fund that come out. Because please I invite all of you. Do a little survey, go to main markets, don’t talk to politicians. Just ask a simple question – which zone will the next Anambra state governor come from?
“You’d get 80% if not 90% saying the same thing. So my simple message is I think the Anambra people know for sure where the next governor would come from. And I thank God that it happens to work in my favour and I think it’s a good thing because it’s going to help to reduce spending in politics.
“With high spending leads to the corruption that follows, and going into bed with fellows that you wouldn’t ordinarily be talking to. So what I’m saying here is it’s a good thing. But what I want to advocate always is don’t choose zoning over competency, match the two. And don’t choose competency and ignore zoning because you’re going to be wasting your time. When you bring the two, you have the best of two worlds. And that’s why my governorship candidacy represents. Competency wise, I feel God didn’t create me short and zoning wise, I’m also favoured because I come from the Anambra South,” he said.
According to Ozigbo, the next election in the state is an election for PDP to lose. He said APGA has done enough damage to themselves not just about how Obiano is being perceived in Anambra today. He noted that the perception in Anambra is so strong that APGA isn’t coming back for this election especially if PDP does the right thing.
“And this is what I want PDP to do. PDP needs to unify and I think that also not being active in the past in politics is also a good thing for me because people can easily come around me. Unlike when you have been so categorized or so camped. What I’m seeking to do and become is the consensus candidate for the key leaders in PDP and more importantly, an acceptable and overwhelmingly popular candidate for the grassroots. Once I can achieve these two, PDP and myself will be celebrating come March 17, 2022.”
– Jun. 19, 2020 @ 13:45 GMT |