Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi has reiterated the need for stakeholders to respect the zoning principles put in place in the distribution of key political offices, especially in governorship positions in the state.
Umahi addressed the people of Ebonyi in a statewide broadcast in Abakaliki on Wednesday ahead of the Feb. 25 and March 11 Presidential, National Assembly and Governorship/State Houses of Assembly elections respectively.
According to the governor, adhering to the zoning arrangements will create unity, instil equity, justice and fairness as well as reduce unnecessary tension that characterised contestation for political power.
Umahi further explained that the zoning of key political positions since the inception of democracy in 1999 had helped to curb political marginalisation and caused power to rotate seamlessly among the three geopolitical zones in the state.
Umahi called on the leaders of the state to honour him by respecting the zoning arrangements that were enshrined in the state’s Charter of Equity and practised since the return of democracy.
“I am the only person that have full experience in terms of the Ebonyi project and Ebonyi matter since the beginning of Ebonyi.
” So, I appeal that I have studied the state very seriously and I have been able to stabilise the polity; I appeal to our leaders to honour me and respect this position.
“It may sound political, it may sound like I’m campaigning for my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) but, it is more than that, APC candidates are very strong and are the tickets that are capable of uniting the state.
“Can you imagine the Abakaliki bloc being two senatorial zones and the Afikpo bloc being one senatorial zone; how does it sound that the Abakaliki bloc respected us in voting against their own in 2015 to allow for justice, equity and fairness?
“And a man from the South will want to take over from me after eight years of presiding as the governor of the state.
“It doesn’t sound right. It is not a ticket based on justice, equity and fairness and that is not a ticket that is going to build the state, it is very wrong.
” The popular choice is for the cycle to start again in the Ebonyi North senatorial zone where it started in 1999 and this is very important.
“I appeal to our people to look at this critically and I want this broadcast to be documented and reference shall be made of it tomorrow for those who will want to undermine it or underrate us,” Umahi said.
He noted that APC zoned the governorship ticket to Izzi local government area in Ebonyi North senatorial zone in keeping with the zoning principles.
Newsmen report that Ebonyi comprised three senatorial zones with two major political blocs – the Abakaliki bloc consisting of Enonyi North and Ebonyi Central zones and the Afikpo bloc consisting of Ebonyi South senatorial zone.
Our correspondent further reports that Sen. Sam Egwu, the first civilian governor from 1999 to 2007 was from the Ebonyi North zone while Chief Martin Elechi who succeeded Egwu was from Ebonyi Central senatorial zone.
The incumbent governor, Umahi is from the Ebonyi South senatorial zone where Chief IfeanyiChukwuma Odii, the standard bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and major contender in the governorship race hailed from.