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Enugu Guber: No going back on zoning – Assembly tells Ekweremadu, others

A political pressure group in Enugu State, Equity and Integrity Assembly (EIA), on Wednesday, cautioned politicians in the State against sto...


A political pressure group in Enugu State, Equity and Integrity Assembly (EIA), on Wednesday, cautioned politicians in the State against stoking unnecessary tension in the State.


The warning came as political tension continues to rise in the State over the zoning of the governorship position.


It was reported that the situation has worsened since last week following the declaration of his governorship ambition by former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.


The Senator had said there was no zoning agreement in the State and that he would stand for the polls contrary to the views of many other political leaders and groups in the State who believe it is the turn of Enugu East Senatorial zone and not Ekweremadu’s Enugu West.


A document also surfaced yesterday where the Senator and over 50 others were said to have signed the zoning agreement in 2013.


Reacting, the EIA in a statement signed by its coordinator and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Gary Ene and the Secretary, Justus Opah, said it had initiated a third force movement to restore peace, order and germane political climate ahead of the 2023 political campaign.


According to the statement, the “objective of the Assembly is to reach out to the people, including political party stakeholders and the general public on the danger of truncating the conventional or traditional formula of electing the State governor, which has had positive and salutary results so far.


“Any attempt to jettison this formula is bound to cause disharmony and hardship to the people, more so to the youths, the ignorant and the weak who would suffer most.”


“We cannot stop talking about zoning in Enugu State”, the group said, adding that “due to the level of political development in our dear State, we are looking for a situation that will accommodate everybody.


“It is embarrassing that a supposed leader could lie without shame on the issue of zoning because of his ambition.”


It recalled how a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon Dubem Onyia, from the State, had in a full PDP caucus meeting, moved a motion for zoning when Barr. Sullivian Chime was the Governor of Enugu State.


“Senator Ekweremadu was at the meeting. The motion was that the governorship of Enugu State should be by zoning. At that point, Enugu West was in the saddle as governor.


“Before then, Enugu East had finished as Governor by H.E. Chimaroke Nnamani. The decision was that the next governor should go to Enugu North after which the zoning will start from Enugu East,” the group said.


The Coordinator, disclosed that, “I was there as a member of the State caucus and still one. H.E Okwy Nwodo, confirmed that position, among other elder statesmen. The former governor, Chime equally confirmed the position.


“Our worry as a group is that someone who has benefited more than any other person wants to bring crisis into Enugu politics.


“We as elders will stand against that, Enugu State has been a center of peace not only in Southeast but the whole of Nigeria.


“We must thank the Executive governor of Enugu State who has been managing all manner of abuse he is getting from agents of confusion.


“We, therefore, advice Senator Ekweremadu to let reason prevail. Let him wait for the turn of Enugu West.


“It is unfortunate that the inordinate ambition of Senator Ike Ekweremadu to become the governor of Enugu State could lead him to lie even at a period of Lent when Christians are enjoined to speak truth as followers of Christ.


“It is highly regrettable that Senator Ekweremadu, while throwing a challenge to those advocating for zoning, failed to make any reference to the statements made by some leaders like Sullivan Chime, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Ben Collins Ndu and others who have stated unequivocally that the leaders of Enugu State met in 2013 and agreed on zoning.


“This position was equally confirmed by Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, an elder statesman and former governor of old Enugu State at a PDP campaign rally in Igbo-etiti LGA on February 18, 2021, where he disclosed that the PDP leadership in Enugu had zoned the 2023 governorship position of the State to Enugu East senatorial zone.


“Dr. Nwodo, who is also a former National Chairman of the PDP said that he was in the party meeting, alongside other leaders, such as the then Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the then State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Vita Abba, and others where the decision was taken.


“In the light of the foregoing, therefore, Senator Ekweremadu was only being economical with the truth while addressing the issue of zoning at his press briefing


“On Senator Ekweremadu’s challenge to us to name who and who were at the meeting where the issue of zoning was agreed in Enugu, I urge him to speak or refute the statements by these prominent leaders who said that he (Ekweremadu) was at the meeting of the PDP State Caucus with them in 2013 where the decision on zoning was made.


“He should tell us whether he was or was not in the said PDP State Caucus meeting with Chief Duben Onyia, a former Minister; Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, a former PDP National Chairman; Chief Vita Abba, the then PDP State chairman; Barr Sullivan Chime, the then State governor; Ben Collins Ndu, a former Senator and Dr Charles Egwumgbe, among others, when the zoning understanding in the State was reached.


“It is good that it was Ekweremadu who threw up this challenge and I am glad that those at the meeting have spoken. I would want him to be specific on their statements and either confirm or deny them.


“These leaders cannot be wrong and only Ekweremadu would be right.


“The truth has been established. There is zoning understanding in Enugu State, and Ekweremadu was at the meeting where it was agreed. He has no choice than to respect it.


“His ambition is, therefore, dead on arrival. He should apologize for this distraction and retrace his steps”, the group advised.

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