Magnus Eze, Enugu
Following opposition to zoning in the Anambra State governorship election coming up next year, the state government is making moves to convene a meeting of traditional rulers to endorse its preference and that of the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the South senatorial district to produce the next governor.
Sources revealed that since some traditional rulers from the three zones in Anambra State are holding divergent views on the next election, the state government is making plans to select about 30 monarchs from each zone for a meeting, with the instruction to declare there is zoning and that the South senatorial zone would produce the successor to Governor Willie Obiano.
It was gathered that the proposed meeting being coordinated by a commissioner and a traditional ruler from Anambra North, may hold before the end of the month.
While elements in APGA are pushing for zoning, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said its governorship ticket is open to aspirants from all three zones in the state and that the best would be selected.
Reacting to the plan to get traditional rulers to endorse zoning for the next election, a pan-Igbo youth organisation, Anambra Ekunie, accused the state government and APGA of intimidating monarchs to support their quest for Anambra South senatorial district to produce next governor.
The group alleged that the government has threatened to dethrone any traditional rulers who speak against APGA’s zoning of the governorship in the state.
In a statement by its President, Ifeanyi Achusi, yesterday, the group also alleged that a commissioner has been mandated to enforce the project.
Achusi said some traditional rulers, particularly those who had publicly spoken against the purported zoning of the governorship, had been identified for warning and punishment.
The group confirmed that arrangements were on to convene a meeting of traditional rulers in Awka, the state capital; where about 60 traditional rulers representing various zones would be compelled to sign a communiqué endorsing zoning of the governorship to Anambra South.
The group said: “Recall that traditional rulers from Anambra North had, on March 22, declared they were against zoning just like their counterparts from the Central, but what appeared like a recant on the part of those of them from the North was the handiwork of government.
“Some of those who earlier rejected zoning were tongue-lashed and threatened with the withdrawal of their certificates of recognition and staff of offices. We are in touch with them and they are bitter about what is going on.”
A traditional ruler from Anambra North confirmed his colleagues across the zones had been under undue pressure from the state government in recent times over the zoning issue.