As the buildup to Anambra 2021 standalone gubernatorial election gains traction, some politicians are making frantic efforts to truncate the beautiful rotation of governor position arrangement in the State. The argument of these naysayers is that governorship has moved around the three senatorial zones, and the chips, therefore, should fall where they may, starting from the 2021 governorship election in the state.
For the avoidance of doubt, Their Excellencies Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Anambra South), Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige and Mr. Peter Gregory Obi (Anambra Central) and currently Chief Willie Obiano (Anambra North) have all governed Anambra State in that order.
What equity ordinarily demands now is for Anambra governor to come from Anambra South in 2021, in the spirit of rotation and zoning through which the past and current governors of the State have emerged. Some politicians are fighting against this noble arraignment thus gratuitously heating up the polity and set to turn Anambra into a bedlam.
This spat against the continued rotation of governor is warped and self-serving. Those who propel it do not have the interest of Anambra State at heart. Anambra is the gateway to the South East and blessed with abundant and uncommon human and material resources. It is very crucial that Anambra should get its acts right and show an example to the rest of the South East and the country at large.
Many pan-Igbo organizations such as Igbo Leadership Development Foundation (ILDF) and many notable Igbo leaders have been making a case for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction based on Federal Character Principle enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, which justifies rotation of presidential power. These organizations and individuals promoting the emergence of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in the 2023 General Elections do so for the simple reason that the South East is the only geopolitical zone in Southern Nigeria that has not produced a President for the country in the present democratic dispensation.
They also contend that the southeast zone producing Nigeria’s President, though would not be a silver bullet for addressing the nation’s leadership and developmental deficits, will, no doubt, usher in unity and healing in the land and end the lingering mistrust caused by the Nigerian civil war. Yet, some of the leaders are now fighting against the rotation of governorship in Anambra.
It should be emphasized that rotation and zoning as a democratic process ensures political inclusivity and reduce the rancor associated with elections as well as cut down costs of electioneering by narrowing candidature to particular zones in each election circle.
Leaving governorship election as an all-comers affair in Anambra State particularly can only create wide latitude for confusion and conflict as well as incur many costs that could have gone into the development of the State.
In Anambra State particularly, the rotation has reduced rancor in the gubernatorial contest and ensured even development in the 3 senatorial zones, given that each governor has ensured that his zone received its fair share in terms development and representation in governance. This has led to the remarkable transformation of Anambra into a one-city state and one of the most developed States in Nigeria.
It is therefore quite distressing that aspirants are springing in all the 3 senatorial zones in utter disregard of the rotation arrangement, which has subsisted and sustained the State since the return to the current democratic dispensation.
Men and women of goodwill, Igbo leaders and friends of Anambra State and Igbo land, in general, should prevail on those pushing for the jettisoning of rotation of Anambra Governorship to regain perspective and retrace their steps. They can wait for the rotation to reach their zone again in due course. They can also contribute meaningfully to the development of Anambra State without being governors, as only one person can be a governor at any given time.
As earlier noted, many Igbo organizations and Igbo leaders are, at the moment, canvassing for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction come 2023 based on the principle of rotation of presidential power between North and South Nigeria. They cannot be making a case for the emergence of Nigerian President of Igbo extraction based on rotation and close their eyes to the truncation of rotation and zoning of governorship in Anambra or in any South East State for that matter.
He, who goes to equity as the saying goes, must go with clean hands. As a matter of fact, advocacy for rotation must spread and percolate down to Local government, State Assemblies and National Assembly positions.
Those who argue against rotation and zoning should please check the implications of the costs of elections in Nigeria, which is likely the highest in the world. The fact is: the costs of elections have blighted and impacted negatively on development in Nigeria generally. They should also note that consensus is democratic since where there is no dissention there is no violation of the individual’s democratic rights or ethos of democracy.
Let it also be on record: Anambra South is the richest zone in Anambra in Nigeria. They have the capacity to colonize the office of the governor in future governorship elections in the State if provocation rouses them to rise to the challenge.
Come to think of it, is there any part of a State in Nigeria that does not have enough capable men and women to pilot its affairs? Governance of a State or Nigeria should therefore not be treated as the birthright or exclusive preserve of one side of the State or the country for the matter.
Ndi Anambra and Ndigbo, in general, should not allow rotation and zoning of governorship to be sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and ego trips of some politicians who do not see governance as service but as business and aggrandizement.
Many of these aspirants are mere spoilers who have no real business in the governorship race. They have so much money to throw around and only want their names to be heard. But there are other noble endeavors in the State in which they can register themselves and make their footprints boldly on the sands of time rather than distracting and meddling with the governorship race.
One is so concerned because one believes that if Anambra gets it right, the rest of the South East and indeed Nigeria will also get it right! Let Anambra South produce the next Governor of Anambra State in the spirit of rotation, equity, fairness, and social justice.
Yes, the odds clearly favour the South Senatorial District for 2021 Governorship election. Apart from the fact that South Senatorial District produced governor who left office since 17 years ago, the zone has the least number of years in office with Mbadinuju who did only a 4-year tenure compare to Central and North who are having 11 years and 8 years respectively.
One major advantage of Zoning is that it enhances the act of choosing credible candidates devoid of sectional sentiments.
The political sagacity of Anambra people should come to the rescue once again. Anambra people are very special people who are politically sophisticated. They should hold firm to the practice with proven success that is so self-evident.
As Americans would say, if it is not broken, don’t fix it. Let rotation and zoning of governor in Anambra State be.
- Dr. Law Mefor, a Forensic and Social Psychologist, Journalist and Author, is from Abatete, Anambra Central. Tel.: +234-803-787-2893; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.