By Jude Atupulazi
The clamour by the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, and some other groups for the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State to go south in the spirit of zoning has been carpeted by traditional rulers from Anambra North who want the contest to be thrown open.
Addressing newsmen in Igbariam shortly after a meeting of traditional rulers from Anambra North, their leader and host, Eze Dr Nkeli Kelly, popularly known as Okalakwu, said there was no basis for the clamour for zoning as every election in the past had been contested by candidates from all the zones. According to him, rather than clamour for zoning, what the state needed was the best candidate that would address the needs of the state.
He wondered what would have happened if when it was said in the past that a particular zone should produce a governor and a candidate from another zone contested and won, noting that since candidates from all zones had always contested previous elections, there was no reason why it should be different now.
‘If there should be zoning, then in every election, all candidates must come from the designated zone alone. If not, there’s nothing like zoning. We are not in support of zoning,’ he said, noting that there had never really been such in the state.
He said the role of traditional rulers was to pray and bless the people, as well as tell the truth, rather than be involved in politics.
The monarchs’ stand is supported by Igboezue Cultural Association, whose national publicity secretary, Charles Amafor, corroborated the traditional rulers’ assertion that what was paramount was to have a credible person as governor of the state regardless of where such a person came from.
‘All we need is a person who understands the needs of the people; a credible leader,’ Amafor stressed.
It will be recalled that the issue of zoning had recently been in contention, with other major political parties in Anambra State outside the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, insisting that zoning was an arrangement of APGA and therefore did not concern other parties.