“What kind of rubbish is that?, there is no such thing like zoning.” - Ike Ekweremadu | CABLE REPORTERS

Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu recently unveiled his agenda “A Pathway to a New Enugu”,

and later spoke to newsmen where he condemned zoning, threw more light on his governorship ambtion, saying he would use employment, technology, and infrastructure to wage war against insecurity. Excerpts:

Did you consult with governor Ugwuanyi over your ambition?

After the 2019 election, we had a programme where I said that I would not be going back to the senate and that my people had tried to keep me in the Red chamber for 20 years. After I made the declaration, many people came to ask me to run for the governorship of the state.  

I told them that it was too early to decide at that time and that it would also be distracting to Ugwuanyi. In July 2021, I had a conversation with the governor where I requested him to go back and consult widely. I gave him reasons why I wanted to become governor. I believe he is still considering it and that ultimately, he will decide, which will be favourable to me and to the entire people of Enugu State. I would like to see him support me in every respect.


Why did you support Ugwuanyi in 2015 governorship polls over Ayogu Eze?

I have known Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Ayogu Eze for a very long time. Both are passionate about what they do. When the election came, there were several issues around who the candidate should be and we decided to end it and make progress. And the governor at the time preferred Ugwuanyi. That was the meeting point between us (myself and Chime). So, I felt that the best thing to do then was to support Ugwuanyi as best as I could to make sure that we remained peaceful.

I met with Ayogu Eze and suggested that we should go back to the senate, believing that when he comes back, he will do well. But he was determined to pursue his ambition of becoming the governor. He took the matter to the Supreme court. But that did not stop us from being friends and he still relates with the governor today. In politics, you disagree to agree. The decision to let Ugwuanyi be governor did not affect the relation the three of us had built. 


 On the claim by some Enugu leaders of an existing zoning agreement

 I don’t like talking down on my leaders, friends and colleagues. You know, if you are talking about zoning, you are talking about the interest of the entire People of Enugu State, men, women, traditional rulers, town union Presidents, representatives, the ordinary people. Then someone is telling you that he, and a few people sat down in one place and discussed zoning. Which party were they representing? That is the thing.

I heard that narrative; someone said it was in the Banquet Hall in the Government House during Sullivan’s (Chime) regime. If you and few people decided to visit the Governor and had some food and drinks and then had a conversation, does that mean you should wake up and say you discussed or agreed? What kind of rubbish is that? So, there is no such thing like zoning.

Which organ of government or party were they representing? If you go to PDP Constitution, I think Article 6 or thereabouts, dealing with local government and State organs, we have the Caucus, State Working Committee, State Executive Committee and State Elders’ Committee. There is no organ of the state party machinery in that PDP Constitution that empowers anybody to go and zone governorship. So, I don’t know the meeting they were having. It doesn’t make sense. Now, they said it was in 2013, so, what happened to Sullivan?

How did he emerge? So, he is not a product of zoning? People will always canvass such argument provided it supports what they want to achieve. They don’t even look at whether the argument makes sense or not. I am a lawyer; so I like agreement, I like decisions. If there is such agreement, I will abide by it, but in absence of that, people should stop telling lies in order to achieve their aims.

If you are zoning the governorship of a state, it is a serious matter. It is not a matter of friends meeting in a Government House to say they have zoned the governorship. So, it is ridiculous. That is why I don’t like addressing this issue because it is annoying and it makes one to say what he doesn’t want to say. If there were an agreement, I would abide by it. But there is none.

 I know they are trying to get people to sign a document to say they have zoned governorship. Maybe from next week (last Sunday), you may start seeing funny, funny documents and statements here and there. But we are waiting for them. Don’t forget, if you are zoning the governorship, what criteria are you going to use?  Is it senatorial zone or the cultural zones? We have four cultural zones in Enugu. We have Awgu, Agbaja, Nkanu and Nsukka. So, you believe that someone from Awgu will never be Governor of Enugu State? So, when are you going to zone to them? The issue of Governorship of Enugu State is a serious matter; let’s drop all these mundane discussions because everyone has his own arguments or candidates. Zoning is not going to put food on our table. It is not going to employ our children; it is not going to give work to our people. Let us be able to have argument that can advance us into the Enugu State of our dream. 

Those who say I support, I canvass zoning/rotation of the presidency, but not disposed to it at the state level are not being fair or don’t seen to understand the difference. At the federal level, the presidency is yet to rotate round the six geopolitical zones. But as God would have it, in Enugu State, all the three zones have had the opportunity to be governor of Enugu State. So, what are they talking about?

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