There wouldn’t have been any need for this write-up if not for the growing tendency of our people in Anambra south senatorial zone to misunderstand and misrepresent the meaning of politics. First, I am neither a PDP, APC or APGA supporter. I vote for individuals that I believe in and not their political party because none of the political parties have development ideas. They only want power for the sake of it. I am from Ekwulobia and have lived in Awka for as long as I can remember. I have also voted at every election since 1999. In all these, I have never bothered myself about the zone where a good candidate comes from so far as he is competent and has capacity to deliver. That is why I don’t feel disappointed with my votes for Dr. Chris Ngige in 2003 and Peter Obi in 2010. However, my concern here is about the decision of our people in Anambra South to insist that every other zone of the state should withdraw from the 2021 governorship election and allow only people from our home zone to contest.
This is a terribly wrong demand. I read this argument from an interview that Valentine Ozigbo, an aspirant on the PDP platform, granted an online platform, The Niche. I have also heard so many of our people making that same defective argument. I think that the time has come for well-meaning and educated people from Anambra South to rise in defence of democracy and politics so that our people don’t ignorantly create a problem for Anambra state.
First, I am aware that the Igbo interpretation for the word politics is ndolondolo ochichi. If we look at it from the Igbo interpretation, we will know that ndolondolo ochichi means contest. Therefore, it makes no sense for anyone to go into a contest by asking that contestants from other zones to withdraw for only contestants from his own zone. If that is the case, we are no longer talking about politics as contest but as appointment. It would be better therefore for our people in Anambra south to insist that one of them should just be appointed as governor instead of talking about electoral contest.
However, truth must be told. Our people are insisting on zoning of the governorship to Anambra south. They are arguing that Anambra Central and Anambra North have taken turns. But we seem economical with the truth. Ndolondolo Ochichi does not thrive on half-truths. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, our own brother was governor in 1999 till 2003. He failed to get a second term not because Anambra north and Anambra Central conspired against him, but because he failed woefully as governor. His failure forced his party to refuse to field him again. Meanwhile, even the ‘king maker’ at the time was an Anambra South son. So, why are we making it look like Anambra Central and Anambra North have cheated Anambra South? Moreover, did Anambra South politicians not contest in the primary election that threw up Ngige? Did Mbadinuju not contest again under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and lost? If your father sent you to university and you failed to graduate, will you come out to say your father refused to send you to university? Mbadinuju lost his second term chance because his Anambra South godfathers and his party rejected him. It was not the fault of Anambra Central and Anambra South.
Also, like I said earlier, I voted in every election in Anambra since 1999. Even when our people argue that Anambra Central and Anambra north have taken turns to govern the state, though without power being zoned to them, didn’t Anambra South politicians contest in the elections that gave Obi a second term? Did our people not contest in the first term election and second term re-election of Willie Obiano? Which Anambra South politician stepped down from the contest because it was zoned to Anambra North? If we must go to equity, let us must go with clean hands. If Anambra South wants an exclusive governorship race in 2021, as per the illogical zoning logic, did our politicians allow other zones exclusive right of contest when Chris Ngige, Obi and Obiano became governors? Have our politicians from Anambra South not contested every governorship election in Anambra state since 1999? How come it is now that we are demanding that politicians from Anambra Central and Anambra North give way for only those from our zone to contest? Does it even make sense?
Even if we agree that governorship in our state was zoned, though there is no document anywhere showing where the three senatorial zones agreed to the zone the governorship, the three senatorial zones have had their opportunities to produce the governor. It therefore means that the cycle of zoning between 1999 and 2020 has been completed. The implication is that the next round of zoning, if necessary, will begin with the zone that wins the 2021 governorship election. It means that people from Obiano’s village can also contest. It means that people from the village of Ngige and Obi are eligible to contest. The next round of zoning will begin with whichever zone that wins in 2021.
So, I believe that if our people in Anambra South are actually serious about contesting for the 2021 governorship election, they should brace up for the contest and compete on merit. Ozigbo said in his interview that he does not want to be a product of zoning. If he is serious, why is he insisting that all the political parties should zone their governorship ticket to Anambra South? Are our men afraid of standing up to other men? This is ndolondolo ochichi and not a transfer of title from father to son. Unless our politicians are proclaiming lack of capacity to square up against other aspirants, I do not see any sense in the call for every political party to zone their governorship ticket to Anambra South. That is not democracy and it is also no ndolondolo ochichi.
In the olden days during village wrestling competitions, every village prepares very well and put forward their best wrestlers. We always taunted those who do not have good wrestlers because they were always defeated. The beauty of the competition then was that able-bodied youths competed against their mates and brought honour to their villages. How then did we come to this stage where contestants will demand that others give way for them alone? What are our people afraid of?
Like I said earlier, I am not a politician. But with my little knowledge of what politicians do, I understand that they lobby and negotiate for support. This is what I expect our people in Anambra South to do. We need to reach out to other stakeholders with our best; those who have the credibility, competence and integrity to lead and uplift Anambra state so that we do not repeat mistakes we made in 2019. Our men must not go into a contest with their tails between their legs.
• Anene, a commentator on public affairs, lives in Awka