Opinion

Anambra 2021 : It’s South or Nothing – GAFORUM

. . . Says Next Gov Must be Homegrown

By Jude Atupulazi

Anybody aspiring to be the next governor of Anambra State must not only come from the South Senatorial Zone of the state, but will have stayed in the state for between 15 and 20 years. This was part of the resolutions of a political pressure group and non-governmental organization, Greater Anambra Forum (GAFORUM), at their meeting held in Awka last Tuesday, ahead of activities for the 2021 governorship poll in the state, writes Jude Atupulazi.

GAFORUM, a group comprising technocrats, professionals, politicians, leaders of associations, trade unions, religious bodies, and others, also said the state would no longer accept what it called foreign governors.

With the tenure of the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, who is from Anambra North, set to expire on 17 March 2022, and with the election for his seat coming up in 2021, interested candidates are slowly beginning to test the waters in what promises to be a very tough and balanced contest, being that none of the aspirants will be an incumbent.

But GAFORUM, comprising political stakeholders, past and present, has warned all interested parties against interfering with the subsisting gentleman’s agreement on zoning of the office of governor, insisting that it should be the turn of the South.

The forum, speaking through its facilitator, Engr Fabian Ozoigbo, noted that with Anambra North completing the cycle of rotation for all the zones, it was clear that the next zone would be Anambra South which started it all with Gov Chukwuemeka Ezeife, between January 1992 and November 1993.

GAFORUM, which said that its stand was from an independent survey it conducted with people from 18 years and above on their opinion on which zone should produce the next governor, said 71% affirmed that Anambra South should automatically produce the next governor.

‘Verifiable findings flowing from the above show that Anambra people opted for the continuation of the unwritten zonal formula and categorically chose that the next governor should come from the South Senatorial Zone in the interest of equity, good reasoning, smooth transition, cost effectiveness, mutual understanding, respect and peaceful co-existence,’ Ozoigbo stated, calling on all political parties and the people of the state, including stakeholders, to unanimously support the group’s position in order to ensure the realization of their goal.

The forum also urged the people of the South to search for credible candidates with character, proven integrity, performance, competence and education for the position, even as the forum insisted that such a person must see the entire state as one, indivisible unit.

While fielding questions from newsmen later, on the type of person they preferred, Ozoigbo regretting that the efforts of two previous governors, Peter Obi and Chris Ngige, to ensure even development of the state had been jettisoned by the incumbent regime, said that stakeholders in the state were now ready to reject anyone who had not stayed in the state for between 15 and 20 years; enough time for the person to understand the state.

He said that any experience to be flaunted by any candidate must include the person’s experience at home, rather than anywhere else.

‘The next governor must be of domestic extraction. The state can no longer tolerate foreigners, regardless of their track record,’ Ozoigbo insisted, pointing out that whatever pedigree possessed by such a person must be homegrown. He said the era of people coming from outside to become governor was over.

The forum said it was prompted to speak on the issue of zoning because it noticed that politicians across the three Senatorial Zones had started expressing interest in the governorship seat despite what it described as perceived understanding on the rotation. It further noted that everyone was arguing in favour of his political interest.

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