The Ugwuanyi Committee and the Irrepressible Spirit of Zoning.


The people’s Democratic Party at its 94th National Executive Council meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, 7th October, 2021 adopted the recommendation of the Governor Ugwuanyi-led Zoning Committee of the party for the North to produce the next national chairman of the party, while the presidential ticket is thrown open to all Tom, Dick and Harry to contest irrespective of the section of the country from where they come. This is happening under the watch of the acting national chairman of the party, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, who incidentally is from the South and who is aware it is incontrovertibly the turn of the South to pick the presidential ticket of the party in consideration of the fact that by 2023, President Buhari shall have served for two tenures the turn of the North.

The fact that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) set up the Zoning Committee is evident of the fact that zoning is the guiding spirit of the party. The Ugwuanyi committee had terms of reference restricted to the offices of the party and Governor Ugwuanyi had explained that it was not within the terms of the zoning committee to decide where the presidential ticket would go to. Nonetheless, the zoning of the chairmanship of the party to the North has implications, one of which is the known fact that the North cannot produce the chairman of the party and the presidential flag-bearer as well. The understanding is that since the chairmanship position is zoned to the North, the presidential ticket is automatically, by implication, zoned to the South. Throwing the presidential ticket open is a decision that seems not to have been well thought out, no matter what political reason that propels it. The party should not have set up any zoning committee in the first place since it has the intention to throw open the presidential ticket. By so doing, the party has confirmed zoning has come to stay and no political chicanery can overawe it. A thing cannot be and still still not be That is the law of the divided middle in common logic. By adopting the recommendation of the Ugwuanyi committee, the party has impliedly adopted to zone its presidential ticket to the South. That is it. Zoning is the whole, it has no divided part. Its application has always been that way and it is traditional to the party. If the party adopts this open grazing attitude to its presidential ticket,some persons may likely seek equitable remedy in court.

In 1999, the PDP in the spirit of equity zoned the presidential ticket to the South and the chairmanship position to the North. That was how Chief Solomon Lar (North-Central) emerged the national chairman and President Obasanjo ( Southwest) the presidential flag-bearer who went ahead to win the presidential election. In the same spirit of zoning, the position of the senate president was zoned to Southeast and vice president to North East while the speakership of the House of Representatives was zoned to Northwest. PDP had maintained its zoning tradition from Obasanjo through Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan to Atiku Abubakar and in each case, where the chairman is from the North, the presidential candidate would emerge from the South. That has been the pattern.

It was in this same understanding that the Ugwuanyi committee, knowing full well that it is the turn of the South to produce the presidential candidate of the party, zoned the chairmanship position to the North. The politics was there but the Ugwuanyi committee was not derailed by the foggy labyrinth of political scheming. The committee was guided by the indomitable spirit of zoning which flows in the blood of the party and which has successfully guided the party in its many outings.

It is ,therefore, curious how the party would want to swim against the tide this time around. Does it not sound inconsistent of PDP to zone its national offices and throw open to all sections its presidential ticket? What does the party hope to achieve with this piggledy-higgledy distortion of its long entrenched pattern of giving all sections of the country a sense of belonging through the zoning of political offices in the spirit of justice, equity and fairplay? This is one asset of the PDP that has guaranteed its many victories in Nigeria, especially in the Southeast. Why should PDP change the goal post at the middle of the game this time? To please the rapaciously incurable ambition of some persons who must be president by all means? Or to continue to submerge the South, especially the Southeast, whose turn it is to fly the presidential flag of the party? Or to slavishly genuflect before the rabid but reprehensible sense of Northern dominion foisted by the extreme politics of those born to rule and them born to serve? This sense is heightened to the point the South has been mentally policed to the incredible acceptance of political subalternity.

What the PDP is about to do with throwing open to all sections of the country its presidential ticket is an unnatural deed and unnatural deeds breed unnatural troubles. It is not in the DNA of the party. He who sold the monkey to buy a dog should know that what sits on its buttocks has yet to depart from his house. It is ridiculous of the party to adopt zoning in one flank and throw it away at the other flank. It is the surest path to disequilibrium and imbalance which is bound to collapse the plane. The glaring injustice the party is about to do the Southeast is humongous and may likely lead to the people looking in the direction of the APC or any other party that may offer them the needed sense of belonging in the spirit of equitable zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.

We believe the party will realize itself and quickly adjust to its ancestral spirit of zoning which had guided it to victory in the time past past. The party may be inadvertently locking the presidential door before its face should it go ahead with this open grazing idea. When did PDP reward the Southeast for its many years of unwavering loyalty to it? Is it not yet an opportune moment to do so, knowing full well it is the turn of the East? Already, many Nigerians are asking Governor Ugwuanyi to run for the presidency that he may replicate the wonders he has done in Enugu State at the national level. Could the PDP have the roasting road and go ahead to scald its fingers before the fire? Why go for open grazing when you have a reference point of exceptional leadership around whose waist to tie your presidential candidacy?

Here in Enugu State where over-ambition is ferociously fanning the ember of distortion,some folks are already celebrating the anarchic political open grazing the PDP is mooting. As premature an ejaculation as that is, it is clearly important to note that here in Enugu State, zoning is well-entrenched and can never be wished away. Even the other political parties have this in their consciousness and APC for instance has already zoned its governorship ticket to Enugu East Senatorial Zone. Governor Ugwuanyi had himself stated the decision about who would succeed him would be based on dialogue, equity, justice and fairplay which of course zoning alone guarantees.

Whoever is gloating over the mistake the party is about to make at the centre should know that Governor Ugwuanyi believes in equity. It was the same spirit of equity in which he believes that capably guided his leadership of the PDP Zoning Committee to recommend the North for the chairmanship position of the party and in the understanding the party would do the right thing by zoning its presidential ticket to the South. That same spirit of equity will surely guide him to the right decision of who will succeed him. The Almighty God in Whose hands Ugwuanyi committed Enugu State, Whom he serves with fear will surely guide him and protect Enugu State from the looming anarchy forming over the head of the party at centre.

PDP, say no to political open grazing!

Bibian Anekwe News added – “Great leaders have three things; inner light, inner vision, and inner strength.” .

Written by

By Reuben Onyishi


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