2023: Ebonyi Central PDP Guber Aspirants tackles Ebonyi North aspirants over call for zoning

Ruth Oginyi

Four governorship aspirants of the people’s Democratic Party, (PDP) from Ebonyi central senatorial zone have rejected the call by its counterparts from Ebonyi North that the governorship ticket should be given to the Ebonyi North zone.

A rejoined on a communique issued by the governorship candidates from the Izzi extraction of the State signed by the aspirants and copied to the party in the state and Southeast zone and others noted that Ebonyi state is known for two blocks Afikpo block and Abakaliki block, and wondered why the aspirants from the izzi area of the State should be demanding the ticket alone in an opportunity that belongs to the entire Abakaliki block.

The rejoinder signed by Senator Obinna Ogba, Hon. Anayo Edwin, Hon Chris Usulor, and senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu challenged the nine aspirants from Ebonyi north to “Be courageous and let them meet Ebonyi People at the field and not to ambush the people’s mandate”

The attention of the Governorship Aspirants from Ebonyi Central Senatorial District, on the platform of PDP, including Dist. Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba, Dist. Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu, Hon. Anayo Edwin and Hon Chris Usulor Campaign Organisations, have been drawn to the communique issued by the PDP gubernatorial aspirants from Ebonyi North Senatorial District/Zone in Abakaliki on 18th April 2022, calling for zoning of the 2023 gubernatorial ticket on Senatorial zonal basis with Ebonyi North senatorial zone as the deserved beneficiary.

The rejoinder said the contents of the communique in, are an affront to the process that brought Ebonyi people together and which has been holding Ebonyi people together for ages.

“For the records and posterity,
the agitation for the creation of Ebonyi State was anchored on consensus arrangements between two major sets of people from Anambra/Enugu States on the other hand and their counterparts from Imo/Abia States on the other side of the divide. These different groups of people constituted what is known, recognized, and addressed, from the onset, as people from the Afikpo bloc and people from the Abakaliki bloc. So, the term “bloc” which the authors of the communique want to be “jettisoned” has remained the distinguishing language and identity separating these two brothers.

” This identity has as well been serving as veritable bonds of unity and guidelines through which relationships are shared and sustained among these two interest groups since the creation of the state. Therefore the arrangements for Ebonyi creation were never pursued on senatorial interests but rather on bloc considerations.

“Thus, despite the later creation of senatorial zones and local governments, an average man from Afikpo bloc only sees an Izzi, Ezza or Ikwo, etc person as indigenes of Abakaliki bloc and vice versa and not from the perceptual refraction of Ebonyi North/Central/south senatorial zone.

“This request by gubernatorial aspirants from Ebonyi North cannot erase existing history for parochial interests particularly when the founding fathers of the state are still alive.

” Once more it is surprising that most of the signatories to this communique played critical roles in this arrangement during the movement for the creation of Ebonyi. We, however, strongly believe that their knowledge of the obvious truth guided them to consent to the zoning agreement of the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP when the decision was made mid-last year. It was that same decision in which they participated actively where the governorship slot was zoned to the Abakaliki bloc and the chairmanship slot to the Afikpo bloc that they now turn around to oppose. It’s indeed the knowledge of the undisputed truth of the matter, we believe, that made them not oppose the arrangements at the time. , therefore, review this current volte-face, as typified by the communique, as an afterthought designed to achieve selfish aggrandizement aimed at injuring and destabilizing the party and rendering it vulnerable in the 2023 general elections in Ebonyi State.

“It also smacks of unfairness and bad faith for these supposed party leaders who aspire to lead the Ebonyi people and who were part and parcel of the earlier agreed zoning decision, the implementation of which already commenced with the Ebonyi bloc conceding Ebonyi State PDP Chairmanship position to Afikpo bloc only to now turn around to complain. Forbidding Ebonyi Central senatorial district from the Abakaliki bloc from contesting the 2023 Ebonyi gubernatorial election amounts to putting Ebonyi Central senatorial district in double jeopardy. Equity, as we know, does not permit double jeopardy.

“Furthermore, it suffices to say that the zoning decision of the PDP for the 2023 election, is the first-ever zoning arrangement made by the people of Ebonyi State in the history of the State. Nothing could be farther from the truth than the claim by the authors of the communique that there exists “an extant zoning practice in Ebonyi State” which pigeonholes, as they claim, the gubernatorial contest only in the context of senatorial districts! Putting the records straight, the only zoning practice orally agreed upon before now, was the one of 15th January 1996 and again, that agreement was made to protect the interests of the two competing blocs and not based on the prism of any senatorial considerations. As a result, the agreement then rightly zoned the pioneer democratic governorship slot to the Afikpo bloc since the Abakaliki bloc had had the state capital. But unfortunately, that same gentlemanly zoning arrangement was truncated and rendered stillborn by the same people of Ebonyi North Senatorial District now clamoring to benefit from a non-existing senatorial zones arrangements. At that time, without any consideration and regard for the agreement that bides the two blocs together, Ebonyi North took both the pioneer democratic governorship position addition to the state capital. The truth is that the Afikpo bloc felt then that they have been created not just by Ebonyi North but by the Abakaliki bloc, their sharing partner.
Since then, every senatorial district in Ebonyi has contested each of the six governorship elections so far held in the history of Ebonyi State. Where and when was the “extant” zoning practice in Ebonyi State being claimed by Ebonyi North agreed upon?

“However, with the zoning of the governorship position by the PDP to the Abakaliki bloc for 2023, it is the responsibility of the Abakaliki people to choose a candidate from any of the Senatorial zones in the bloc: Ebonyi North or Ebonyi Central.

“We, therefore, appeal to the purveyors of the distortion of our political history, for the umpteenth time to prove to the Ebonyi people where the theory of zoning arrangement on a senatorial basis emanated, its implementation, and which of the six gubernatorial elections so far conducted in the history of Ebonyi State that was not contested vigorously by the three senatorial districts in Ebonyi State!

“Indeed, if any senatorial zone is to recuse itself from the 2023 gubernatorial elections, it’s the Ebonyi North Senatorial zone. This will not only serve as a punishment for violating the gentlemanly bloc zoning arrangement of the founding fathers but that they have benefited DOUBLE having the state capital and first governorship slots at the same time.

“Democracy is about giving the people the opportunity of a variety of choices. We appeal to our colleagues in Ebonyi North PDP gubernatorial race to reach out to the Ebonyi people and present their manifestos and development plans to Ebonyi people rather than looking for the easy way to the Ebonyi government house. The PDP Governorship aspirants in Ebonyi North are hereby advised not to feel intimidated by the formidability and acceptability by the Ebonyi people, of the team presented by Ebonyi Central to compete in the governorship race. We rather encourage them to hone their respective aspirations and take them to Ebonyi people to enable them to make informed decisions.

“The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is hereby advised to ignore this misleading communique; and sustain the confidence of Ebonyi electorate in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to ensure the apparent success of the RESCUE MISSION of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State via the 2023 governorship and other elections”.

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