As race for the senatorial seat of the Okigwe zone hots up, elders and stakeholders in the area have cautioned those they described as “purveyors of fraudulent and unrealistic zoning arrangement” in the area to put a stop to such deceitful propaganda, while re-iterating on the need for the zone to have a responsible, accessible, humane and responsive representation at the National Assembly, come 2015.
The elders who barred their minds on the already vexing issue, called on the proponents of the arrangement to desist from such and work collectively towards the realization of a representative from the Okigwe zone who would be passionate in attracting democratic dividends both from the federal and the state government.
The elders, who acknowledged multifarious problems confronting the zone, declared that for the zone to surmount its ever existing challenges, the people must learn to appreciate merit at the expense of mediocrity and selfish interests.
In their separate interviews, the cross section of the elders however, lamented what they described as a plethora of decay Okigwe zone has suffered from its former senatorial representatives in the past and attributed it to the usual norm of selecting people who are not in tune with the basic needs of the rural populace which is a gross abuse of a genuine democratic process to favour vested personal interests, thereby undermining the wishes of the people.
A foremost elder statesman and the Chairman, Imo state elders Advisory Council, Chief EJK Onyewuchi, who is also from Okigwe zone, stressed the need for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the zone to always maintain unity of purpose by ensuring that popular and sellable candidates who is strong enough to confront challenges from the opposition party candidates in the zone and take the party to the part of success in the forth coming polls.
On the issue of zoning the senatorial slot of the zone as being canvassed by some people whom he described as opportunists who do not have the interest of the party and the zone at heart, Chief Onyewuchi, succinctly cleared the air: “In the year 1978, before the first ever senatorial election in Okigwe zone, the leaders which included, Prof. Echeruo, Former Governor Sam Mbakewe, Nze Philip Nwosu, Chief Benson Maduako, Chief Anamekwe and other stakeholders held a meeting at Mr. ‘O.k 2000’s’ residence in Okigwe local government where Chief EJK Onyewuchi made the proposal that the first senate slot should go to Okigwe local government council, a proposal which an Okigwe man stood up and zoned to Ehime Mbano, after which a conclusion was reached that the seat should rotate to all the remaining local government areas in the zone, except in a situation whereby a particular local government is considered to have performed optimally, that area would be given another chance to further represent the zone”.
He further, emphasized that three local governments in the area, namely; Ehime Mbano, Isiala Mbano and Obowo have had their shots at the senate, while Ihitte-Uboma, Onuimo and Okigwe local governments are yet to represent the zone in the senate. He therefore pointed out that for equity and fair-play, any credible candidate from the three remaining local government areas should be allowed to represent the zone this time.
Another elders statesman and a frontline leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Okigwe zone, Hon. Vice Agu, who described proponents of the said zoning based on clannish arrangement as ignorant of the provisions of the country’s electoral arrangement, as the known arrangements have been based on either, Communities, Wards, LGAs, Federal constituencies and zones, maintaining that zoning favors Ihitte-Uboma local government area in essence, even as going by the federal constituency arrangements which had senator Chukwuemeka Echeruo, from Okigwe South, who had a shot at the senate and handed over to senator Agunanna from Okigwe North federal constituency, while senator Ifeanyi Araraume from the same Okigwe North completed the North’s two-terms at the senate and further started another term, thus making it three consecutive terms for the Okigwe North federal constituency, before handing over to senator Sylvester Anyanwu from the Southern constituency, after which the incumbent senator Matthew Nwagwu took over.
Hon. Agu, however maintained that based on the following analysis, Okigwe South federal constituency, needed to start and formally complete their remaining one term to bring it at par with their Northern counterpart which had three maximum terms of representation at the senate consecutively.
He advised those he called zoning merchants, to remember that party primaries was not the last resort in the electoral contest, as other candidates who emerges at the primaries of various political parties would slug it out with other aspirants from other political parties in the general elections, hence, the need to produce a strong and sellable candidate that can deliver the party in forth coming elections.
Also barring his mind, a frontline APC leader in Okigwe local government area, Chief Okey Unam, said that it would be wrong and a sheer disservice to the party, as well as the people of Okigwe zone to deny a popular candidate who has worked assiduously to move the party forward in the zone, the opportunity to deliver the party in the forth coming polls, pointing out that what the party desperately needs now was a candidate who possesses the credentials to win the zone, and ensure the continuity of the rescue mission government after 2015.
Chief Emeka Ibe, from Isiala Mbano council area of the state, who is another frontline leader of the party from the zone, warned those, especially political appointees from the Okigwe zone who are benefiting from the APC led government in the state, against actions capable of truncating the perceived victory of the party in the forth coming elections in the zone, as well as, indulging in anti-party actions like, unduly coercing the people to believe that there is a persisting zoning arrangement, particularly in okigwe zone and the state in general which, according to him is capable hampering the fortunes of the party in the forth coming gubernatorial election in the state.
The elders however, wonders if the present ploy by some political appointees from the zone was to destabilize the party using what they described as a well-known destructive strategy which confirmed their alleged romance with the opposition parties, especially in okigwe local government area that may mar the party’s chances of winning the zone in the forth coming elections.
Curled from Community Watchdog Newspaper
Note; This material has been reproduced from Community Watchdog Newspaper