2019:  Ebonyi APC gubernatorial aspirant rejects zoning, consensus


Prof. Bernard Odoh, a governorship aspirant in Ebonyi on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, has described zoning and consensus arrangements as `undemocratic’.
Odoh who is from Ebonyi Central Senatorial District with former Governor Martin Elechi spoke during media interaction with journalists in Abakaliki on Friday.
Odoh, who is also the immediate past Ebonyi  Secretary to State Government, said that zoning of political offices was `fraudulent and did not serve the best interest of democracy’.
He said that zoning arrangement often lead to the emergence of incompetent and visionless leaders.
According to him, zoning as practised in the state is not clearly defined and there is no written and signed agreement binding the people to the alleged agreement.
He said that the alleged zoning arrangement has led to the marginalisation of the Izzi and Ezza nations which he said are the most populous ethnic groups in the state.
The aspirant said that the Izzi people located in the Ebonyi North Senatorial zone and their Ezza counterpart from the Ebonyi Central zone had not produced the governor of the state since return of democracy in 1999.
He said: “Zoning arrangement in Ebonyi is fraudulent and is not clearly defined and if we must zone our key political offices, we must sit down and discuss how the zoning should be done.
“The two dominant groups in the state; the Izzis and the Ezzas have been marginalised and have not been governor and deputy governor of the state since 1999.
“If we must discuss zoning in the real context of how it affects all of us as a people, we need to come to the table and say how do we zone?
“Is it on clan basis or on which line? Zoning on senatorial line cannot reflect the true character and if we are looking at fairness and equity, the state has been unfair to my own people and I have reasons to establish that.
“The Ohaozara bloc will have been in power for about 20 years by the time Gov. Dave Umahi leaves office in 2019, having produced Dr Chigozie Ogbu as former deputy governor.
“The Ikwo people in Ebonyi Central produced immediate former governor, Chief Martin Elechi and the Ohaukwu Local Government produced Dr Sam Egwu, who ruled between 1999 and 2007.
“We are enlightened people and if we have to look at the issue of zoning, we have to look at it objectively and not follow the band wagon.”
He also said that the adoption of consensus option for the party’s primaries did not reflect the true essence of democracy.
Odoh said that consensus method was a “rape on democracy’’ and reiterated that leadership must be on character, competence and credibility.
He said: “Democracy allows for mass participation and it is a government of the people by the people and for the people.
“Consensus will deny party members the right and opportunity to participate in choosing their flag bearers in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.”
Odoh said that his administration would focus on developing and repositioning the education sector which he said has suffered neglect under the present administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that eight governorship aspirants have purchased the APC’s nomination forms to contest the governorship primary in Ebonyi.
NAN also reports that Odoh hails from the Ezza North Local Government Area in Ebonyi Central Senatorial District.