Enugu 2023: Group insists on zoning as Obi-Ozoemena declares governorship ambition
The United Democratic Party (UDP) governorship candidate in Enugu State during the 2019 general election, Pastor Donatus Obi-Ozoemena, has again declared his intention to contest for the same office in 2023.
This is even as the Coalition for Equity and Good Governance (CEGG) in Enugu State has called for the sustenance of zoning in the choice of the next governor of the state.
Obi-Ozoemena, who said he would contest on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) this time, said his decision to contest was informed by requests from Enugu people, especially the youth, who pressured him to run under APGA.
He disclosed this at the grand finale of an expanded version of his yearly football tournament/charity outreach.
This year’s edition, held at the Onoli Sports Field, otherwise known as Sansiro Stadium in Awgu local council area of the state and tagged, “2021/22 Save Enugu State Now Unity Cup Football Tournament,” was organised by the Save Enugu State Now Movement (SESNM).
Addressing a crowd of supporters and guests at the event, which was attended by the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye and several party chieftains, the cleric noted that his latest move was driven by a burning desire to change the face of Enugu State through good governance.
He commended the organising committee of the football tournament, especially its chairman, Okafor Onyeka-Cyndia, who doubles as the Coordinator of SESNM that drives his 2023 political train.
He said: “On behalf of my family, I want to appreciate the good people of Enugu State. We are humbled by your prayers and support since we became public and we are ever encouraged to do all we can with all of us joining hands together to make our great state, Enugu, the best place to be in the world.
“I, hereby, officially announce here in Sansiro Field, Onoli, Awgu that I will run for the office of the Governor of Enugu State in 2023 under APGA. However, this time, it would be in a different dimension, because the inhabitants of Enugu State have decided, and I believe that with the great efforts of the people of all the 17 local councils of the state, we will break the lopsided jinx of one system of leadership in our dear state.
“After the 2019 elections, it did not cross my mind to return to the political scene, but after considering the overwhelming encouragement, support and prayers of our people, young and old, I made up my mind to present myself to be your servant, and lead in rebuilding our state to greatness.
“It hurts my heart to keep seeing our youths battling with the same predicaments that they had been subjected to year in, year out; predicament of lack of hope, joblessness and insecurity, among others. I assure you that with God, there is great hope for you.
“But it’s totally in your hands as we cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. The time is now! Your actions and involvement in APGA and SESNM activities will determine your future and the future of our yet unborn children and youths.”
Addressing journalists in Enugu, CEGG disclosed that the zoning arrangement has, to a large extent, brought uncommon stability, peace and harmony to the state.
Reading a communique signed by its Coordinator, Gerald Obasi and Secretary, Theophilus Enyi, the group frowned on what it termed “the suggestion that the rotation of gubernatorial power in Enugu State should be jettisoned just because the resultant chaos from so doing will serve the narrow interests of those who will benefit from the chaos.”
It accused the individuals holding such opinion as benefiting from such arrangement since the inception of this Fourth Republic.
The group added: “We align ourselves totally to continuation of zoning that has shaped our political firmament in our beloved state. For those who like to attack the word “zoning” when it suits them, perhaps “rotation” would serve better. As is often said, if it ain’t broke(n), don’t fix it. There is no cogent reason to disturb or toy with a system which has, to a very large extent, given us uncommon stability, peace and harmony in Enugu State.
“Consequently, our thesis is no longer on whether zoning by way of rotation across the three senatorial zones in Enugu is official or not. We firmly hold the view that, by providence and political consensus, it has been designed and has come to stay for good.
“We reject in totality the erroneous and self-serving impression being created by some individuals and groups that a part of Enugu State which, in accordance with prevailing political custom and principle, is positioned to produce the next governor is simply not ready.
“We equally reject the suggestion that the rotation of gubernatorial power in Enugu State should be jettisoned, just because the resultant chaos from so doing will serve the narrow interests of those who will benefit from the chaos. It is pertinent to note that these individuals have been benefiting from such arrangement since the inception of this fourth Republic.”