The quest for Anambra South Senatorial District to produce a candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the November 6 governorship election dominated discussion at a stakeholders’ meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting held on Sunday in Amichi, Nnewi South Local Government Area of the state.
While some aspirants and stakeholders who were from the zone supported the clamour, others argued that zoning was not enough, but supported the need for candidates who had the capacity to win election in the election proper.
Valentine Ozigbo, an aspirant, said the Anambra South agenda was about the survival of the state and the chances of PDP in the coming election, adding that it was necessary PDP produces a candidate that was 100 per cent Anambra South.
Ozigbo said while it was important that Anambra South produced a PDP candidate that represented the zone, there was the need to ensure that the flag bearer also had competence and acceptability across the state to win the poll.
He said: “Today was a huge success in spite of the few challenges; we are in the process of ensuring that the next governor comes from the South.”
Ifenna Okwenna, another aspirant, said the entire Anambra was waiting for the South District to lead the campaign as the state had conceded the next governorship to it.
Okwenna said it would be unacceptable that Anambra South, which had been highest shortchanged in the administration of Anambra since 1999, should be in needless squabbles over who should be the right person.
He enjoined people from the senatorial district to come up with a pronouncement as Anambra was waiting for them on the matter.
On her part, Senator Uche Ekwunife, representing Anambra Central, said what was important for the PDP in the state was to have a candidate that not only fits the zoning sentiment, but with the ability to win election.
Ekwunife, who is an aspirant, was a maiden of Anambra South, but married to Anambra Central, said she grew up in Onitsha, North Senatorial, and was therefore qualified to contest from every zone.
She said she had the capacity to win the election for the PDP having done so in the past, adding that women had dual citizenship in politics and should be allowed to enjoy the privilege.
She said: “As we are clamouring for zoning, we should also clamour for winning and winning is the word in this game.
“I am not running this election because I am from the South or Central or North, I am running because I want to win.”
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Okoli Akirika, Secretary of the PDP in Anambra State, who is from Anambra South, told newsmen that the party had set up a 15-man committee to champion the emergence of a candidate from the South Senatorial District.
Akirika said the committee was set up at a stakeholders’ meeting in Amichi, Nnewi South Local Government Area of the state.
He said the committee would consult and engage major stakeholders of the party to ensure that the South zone produced an electable and widely acceptable candidate for the PDP.
Akirika said zoning, though a thorny issue, was a matter of party policy as contained in Chapter 1(7) of the PDP Constitution, which provided for rotation of political offices in line with the general feeling that Anambra South should produce the next governor.
He said: “We resolved to set up a committee that will work out the nitty-gritty regarding zoning so that at the end of the day, Anambra PDP will have a united front and present a candidate that can win election.
“What happened was true to the PDP’s slogan that ‘power belongs to the people.’
“We threw the floor open so that everyone could have their say because we do not want imposition or usurpation of opinions.
“The PDP will not shy away from the political reality on ground in Anambra where all other political parties have zoned their tickets to the South,” he said.
Other aspirants who spoke in support of Anambra South zone agenda were Chief Godwin Ezeemo and Emeka Etiaba (SAN).