ENUGU GUBER ZONING: AGREEMENT WON’T STOP OUTLAWS

BY DONS EZE

The on going debate as to whether or not there was an agreement that the governorship of Enugu State should rotate among the three senatorial zones of the state reached its crescendo last weekend, when the Enugu West Senatorial zone at a rally held in Awgu Local Government Headquarters, threw its weight behind Enugu East Senatorial district, as the zone that should produce the next Governor in 2023.

Both the Enugu North and Enugu East Senatorial districts had earlier held their own rallies where they each affirmed that the governorship of the state is rotatory, with majority of the people supporting Enugu East for the 2023 governorship race.

During the Enugu West rally tagged: “Ife Emelu Nma,” one man who stood out among the crowd to say that there was no zoning agreement for Enugu governorship, was Rev. Hyde Onuaguluchi.

Hyde who claimed to have been in politics before many of the present day politicians, said in view of his privileged position, he was better placed to say that there was no such thing as zoning agreement for the governorship of Enugu State.

We give it to Hyde that he was an astute politician. He ran a very impressive governorship campaign in Enugu State shortly after the state was created in 1991. But Hyde was an outsider. He was not among those who fought for the creation of Enugu State. At least, we did not see his name in the list of those who signed the petition for the creation of Enugu (Wawa) State at the Law Chambers of Chief Enechi Onyia at No. 1 Ogui Road, on March 1, 1971.

We equally did not see his name in subsequent petitions for the creation of Enugu State, the 1976 Irikife Panel; in 1987, when Katsina and Akwa Ibom states were created; and up till the 1991 exercise, when Enugu State was finally created.

In other words, Hyde was “a gate crasher.” Though a very powerful politician, he was dancing at the centre, and might not have known the behind the scene activities or intrigues in the political landscape by those who held the ace, those who mattered, the founders of Enugu State.

Hyde, from Enugu Zone, might not have known why none of the founders of Enugu State, those who fought for the creation of the state – Chief C.C. Onoh, Chief Enechi Onyia, Prof. Godwin Odenigwe, Justice Anthony Aniagolu, Ezeigwe Charles Abangwu, Igwe Julius Nnaji, etc., refused to back his governorship ambition.

Rather, they supported the candidature of Dr. Joe Nwodo, and later, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, from Nsukka Zone, who eventually won the governorship of Enugu State in 1991. (Ene enwe obodo enwe).

What Chief C.C. Onoh had openly said then (for those who cared to listen), was that “having succeeded in getting Enugu State created, nobody from Enugu Zone (which then comprised the present Enugu West and Enugu East Senatorial districts), should go for the governorship of the new State.”

Onoh said that since the Wawa people had suffered marginalization in the former Anambra State, it would be better that Nsukka Zone produced the next governor, for the sake of justice and equity, and for peace to reign in the new state.

He equally ruled out Abakaliki Zone for the position, in the persons of Chief Chris Nwankwo and Chief Polycarp Nwite, who then were jostling to be governor.

If all these might not have been embodied in a written paper, but their words and actions were enough agreement. In traditional Igbo society, whatever our ancestors said or did, had always remained an agreement, and they were sacrosanct, unchangeable.

In any case, even if there was a written agreement about zoning, there would still be some outlaws, those who would rebel against the system. So, for some people to say that because A or B had contested against C, therefore there was no agreement on zoning does not make any sense because not everybody will abide by the rule.

You cannot regiment everybody. Some people will say that it is their democratic right to contest, and that nobody would hold them back under whatever guise. If everybody sticks to the rule, they will be no need for the existence of law enforcement agencies.

As for those who are talking about “rallies of wasteful spending,” what else is democracy? Democracy is about wastefulness. It is expensive, because you need to carry everybody along.

If it is about frugality, we might as well advocate for the scrapping of the legislature because of wasteful spending. All those who stayed in their cacoons to impose governorship candidates on the people were not democratic. They behaved like military men.

By Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI

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