Ekweremadu joins Guber race, reject zoning arrangement

By Joshua Omoloye

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has joined the Enugu State governorship race ahead of 2023. He announced his readiness to jostle for the gubernatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This is as he came against any arrangement to zone the governorship seat to any part of the state.

Ekweremadu who presently represents Enugu West senatorial disclosed this at the weekend during an enlarged media consultation in Enugu, the state capital, he questioned any meeting authorizing zoning arrangement.

There is a general opinion by stakeholders in Enugu East senatorial zone that the area should once again produce the next governor in 2023 since the rotation concept has gone full circle.

The Trumpet recalled that in 1999, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, from Enugu East Senatorial Zone was elected governor of the state on PDP’s banner.

He was succeeded in 2007 by Barrister Sullivan Chime (PDP), who hails from Enugu West Senatorial Zone.  Governor Ugwuanyi, who is also a product of PDP, is from Enugu North Senatorial Zone.

But Ekweremadu who hails from Enugu West insisted that the idea of an agreed zoning formula is speculative, vowing to contest the next governorship election in the state.

He said “who says there is zoning should tell me when it was discussed, in whose house, and who-and- who were there” when zoning in the governorship election in Enugu State was agreed, The Trumpet, gathered.

“First, I was the campaign manager of Chimaroke Nnamani, before he became governor in 1999. .And he wasn’t aware, and I wasn’t aware too that he ever met and discussed with any human being that made him (Chimaroke) governor based on any zoning arrangement… No discussion took place anywhere.

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“Then eight years down the line, Sullivan came, and Sullivan is still alive, and he knows that he was not a product of any zoning arrangement.  He has said that himself.

“Chimaroke consulted widely and one day he called us and said he was going to present Sullivan Chime as governorship candidate, and that was how Chime became the governor.

“So, eight years down the line, when the two senatorial zones had produced a governor each, at that time there was heightened request for Adada state, and those of us who were interested in fairness and equity were minded to insist that the next governor should come from Enugu North.

“There was no discussion on zoning.

“Let it be said that Enugu State is based on four cultural zones.  We have the Nsukka people; we have the Nkanu people, we have the Udi people, and we have the Awgu people.

“Am sure, if there was any discussion on zoning, that would have been factored in these four cultural zones.  But there was none.

“Am sure that you know the cultural zone that has not produced a governor.  But that’s not the matter for today….

“I challenge anybody who says there is zoning  to tell me when it was discussed, in whose house, and who-and- who were there.

“Some people have accused me of being a product of zoning, but I was never a product of zoning both in the senate and the state.   If there was zoning, I won’t be in the senate for five terms.

“Am saying that nobody ever sat down in Enugu state to talk about zoning…”

Ekweremadu whose address was titled “Pathway to new Enugu state,” promised that if elected governor in 2023, his administration would build at least two industries in each of the 17 local government areas of the state in four years.

According to him, if voted into office, his administration would build special cities in the state including sports, auto, ICT, film/media, agriculture (one in each senatorial zone), health and knowledge cities.

Ekweremadu further promised that his administration would embark on urban renewal, and housing programme, consolidation of public primary and secondary schools in addition to

industrializing the state by establishing two industries each in the 17 local government areas in the state under four years of his administration.

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