By Jude Atupulazi
A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State,Hon Gaius Ezeh, has warned the party against violating the existing zoning arrangement in the state if it hopes to avoid a repeat of the 2017 governorship election.
In that election, the PDP had brought out a candidate to challenge the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, without allowing him to complete his full term, only to lose heavily in all the 21 local government areas of the state.
Ezeh who spoke to Fides in Awka, said the people of the state voted Obiano, not because he had done exceptionally well, but because they did not want a disruption of the zoning arrangement.
This time around, the PDP stakeholder has warned the party to learn from its defeat in 2017 by ensuring that its candidate emerged from the South, rather than from any other place, regardless of the candidate.
Ezeh was speaking against the backdrop of rumours that a certain influential member of the party in the state was working for the emergence of a candidate from Anambra Central.
‘My first reaction was to ignore the rumour based on the fact that the PDP hierarchy consists of mature minds that will not dare to toy with the party’s chances of taking over the state come 2021.
‘However, on second thought, and in realization that a human being can err, I decided to sound this note of warning,’ Ezeh said.
According to him, only three parties were in contention for the Anambra Government House in 2021. He gave the three parties as APGA, PDP and APC, even as he however said the PDP had the best chances of winning; so long as it avoided what he called technical mistake.
‘Zoning and rotation of political offices, although not enshrined in our Constitution, is tactically being observed, even at federal level, for the peace and stability of the polity.
‘The relative peace and stability that this has given us in the state is not what an average Anambrarian is prepared to sacrifice for anything. It is important that we in PDP must always have this at the back of our minds while taking decisions on who holds the flag of the party at any time,’ Ezeh noted, cautioning that the party should learn from the last governorship election.
‘If we want to face the truth, we must accept that no governor in the Southeast has matched Mr Peter Obi in any way. Yet, Obi did not score 21/21 in his second term election. Even in the first election of Willie Obiano which he, Obi, spear headed, Obiano did not get 21/21.
‘But the incumbent governor made 21/21. Definitely, it is not because he was outstandingly good or that he performed half as much as Obi did,’ Ezeh said, pointing out that Obiano got the landslide victory owing to zoning issues.
‘If not for those factors, how else could Obiano have beaten the engine room of the unbeatable Obi Administration, Chief Oseloka Obaze?’ Ezeh queried.
He therefore urged the PDP to choose from the rich pool of good materials available in the South for the governorship ticket, rather than jeopardize what he called the party’s golden chance by going outside the expected zone.
He said that even if a candidate better than Obaze were to be chosen from outside the South, such a candidate would still fail, meaning that the PDP would have failed before they started.
He therefore advised the party to feel the pulse of the people first before making any choice to avoid, according to him, repeating the mistake in the Anambra South Senatorial seat and that of Aguata Federal House in the last election.