By Sunday Ani
Ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial elections in Enugu State, a sociopolitical organisation, Enugu Rebirth, has called on politicians and good people of the state to jettison the political arrangement that allows the governorship position to rotate among the three senatorial zones, saying the practice has achieved nothing but division among the people.
A statement signed by the Director-General of the association, Chuka Eze, and made available to the Daily Sun yesterday, noted that Enugu people have not benefited in any tangible way from the practice, instead the real beneficiaries have been the political class, who have used the practice to conveniently share political offices, and resources, as well as opportunities in the state, among themselves and their cronies, at the expense of the poor masses of the state.
The group, which was formed primarily to mobilise, sensitise and conscientise the people on critical political, economic, cultural and social issues affecting the state, according to Eze, felt disturbed by some ugly political plots being orchestrated by politicians in the state ahead of the 2023 elections with regard to which zone would produce the next governor.
“Our worry stems chiefly from the desperate early efforts being orchestrated by politicians and aspiring political office holders to take positions on who occupies which elective office in 2023 at the expense of the development of the state and its people,” the group stated.
It, however, lamented that the development has been breeding hatred, distrust and unhealthy political entitlement among the people. It further lamented that governance has also been abandoned for the politics of zoning; a development it blamed for splitting the state into several groups, all angling to outdo the other by any means, including whipping up sectional sentiments.
Part of the statement read: “We note with deep regret that our people have, through years of mind manipulation, been made to believe that the values and benefits of democratic rule begins and ends with having someone from their community, town, local government area and senatorial zone, occupying a sensitive political office, whether elected or appointed. The more the people from one zone win government positions, the higher their perceived political weight at the detriment of others not so privileged.
“For the incontrovertible reasons provided above, and for other justifications that will follow, we make bold to state that for the 2023 gubernatorial, House of Assembly and National Assembly elections in the state, the good people of Enugu State should reject unequivocally any form of zoning.”
The group also premised its call to do away with zoning on the fact that since 1999 when the zoning idea was introduced in the state, competence, capacity and even knowledge of the needs of the people, and the means to ensure that the people are given enduring developmental values, have been discarded, and replaced by the seasonal dominance of one perceived zone over the others.
“The convenient argument in favour of this contrived zoning appears to have either been overrated or not properly weighted against its demerits by those who are trying to entrench it in our political culture. While this arrangement may make the people whose representative has been given a high elective or appointive office feel that sense of psychological satisfaction and bragging rights for the office their kinsman occupies on their behalf, nothing in this nepotistic measurement criteria suggests that any economic and social benefits will find a pipeline to solve the everyday problems and challenges of the people.
The perceived zoning arrangement has brought us to a situation where the emotional distance between the person from Ugwuogo Nike, and that of the man from Agu Ekwegbe, two communities with a common boundary, has become wider than that between a man from Sokoto and his brother from Maiduguri. Enugu State has become fractured and our people are being misled to emphasise what they have been made to see as their differences at a time we should be talking of coming together to unleash the immense economic power o the state.”
Enugu 2023: Group calls for cancellation of political zoning
By Sunday Ani