AHIAZU/EZINIHETTE MBAISE FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY: AN OPEN RACE FOR ALL

In recent times, the controversy arising from zoning of elective
political positions at both National and Local levels has refused to
abate. The scenario notwithstanding, the zoning issue has become a
re-occurring decimal whenever elections are around the corner.

Zoning from my own view point is all about rotating elective political
positions among all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria, subject to
individual political party internal agreement or arrangement. But
then, there is no known section in the Nigerian Constitution that
provides for zoning. Rather the constitution provides for two terms
for elected Local Government Chairmen, Governors and Presidents. The
provision also gave unlimited term in the House of Assembly, House of
Representatives and The Senate, provided your people re-elect you
because of your performance in Office. Otherwise called “ELECTORAL
EMOLUMENT”. At this point let me state it clearly that zoning is also
aimed at ensuring that no one particular area or group of people
dominates elective positions to the exclusion of another. Bearing this
in mind, let us also agree that zoning formula could work in certain
areas based on prevailing circumstances while it may not apply to
other areas owing to certain “unforeseen” factors.

Let me use Ahiazu/Ezinihittee Mbaise Federal Constituency seat as a
typical case study. In this case, there has never been a time zoning
has been observed in its strict sense. The election of a member of the
House of Representatives for Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise seat has always
been an open race for both Local Governments. Here, with regard to the
new political dispensation, people from Ahiazu and Ezinihitte Mbaise
Constituency have always contested against each other. The following
examples will prove us right. In 1999, for instance, it was between
Late Barrister Tony Anyanwu from Ahiazu and Chief Finbar Ochulor from
Ezinihitte in the PDP primaries. Someother contestants participated
but Tony and Finbar were the most visible. However it took a well
organized and coordinated campaign strategies of Hon. Tony Anyanwu to
defeat Chief Finbar Ochulor at the primaries. In 2003 the scenario was
the same. Chief Philip Ibekwe from Ahiazu nearly defeated most of the
aspirants from Ezinihitte Mbaise if not for the political sagacity of
Chief P. C. Onuoha who tilted the balance in favour of Hon. Chief
Independence Ogunewe — His Political Son.

Again 2007 also presented the same picture where the incumbent Hon.
Chief Independence Ogunewe was re-elected into the House of
Representatives. He was challenged by many aspirants from Ahiazu LGA.
But Hon. Ogunewe floored them all.
Therefore the above instances are to show that there is no known
zoning arrangement when it comes to Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Federal
Constituency. Nonetheless, the all important question now is whether
Ahiazu in particular has any internal arrangement when it comes to
Federal House elections. Ahiazu Mbaise is a Local Government area made
up of two major clans namely AHIARA and EKWEREAZU. As a matter of
fact, none of these clans can lay political claim to 2011 House of
Representative Seat. It is on record that since the creation of Ahiazu
/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency, election to that Office has never
been restricted to any particular area. It has always been all comers
affairs whereby every aspirant to that seat irrespective of where he
comes is allowed to contest while the exercise lasts. But we must bear
in mind that Hon. Barrister Tony Anyanwu who won in 1999 came from
Ekwerazu. As the race for 2011 election hots up, it is pertinent to
remind the political class that whoever wants to run for the House of
Representatives Seat for Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency should
go to the field and test his or her popularity among the people he or
she wants to represent. Conversely, the aspirant should also let the
people know his manifesto (“womanifesto”). It will be counter
productive and infact chasing the wind for anyone be he from Ahiara or
Ekwerazu to pre-occupy himself with the claim that the Federal seat is
“zoned” to his area. This mutilated propaganda has never worked and
cannot work this time. What the people need is a credible, dependable,
tested and trusted person whose pedigree is well known and can lead
into the much desired promised land. Nobody should hide under the
appendage of “zoning” and clannishness to weep up unnecessary sympathy
and sentiment in this era when we need men of integrity honesty,
competence and reliability.
On the other hand if the aim is to ensure that political offices are
equitably distributed, it would be proper and right to have an
Ekwereazu person elected a member of House of Representative since an
Ahiara man is currently serving as an elected executive Chairman of
Ahiazu Local government. Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that an
Ahiara man has never been elected into the House of Representatives.
Also there is an array of people from both Ahiara and Ekwereazu
jostling for Imo House of Assembly seat. The process will definitely
have somebody emerge as a member. Therefore whoever goes with the
sentiment or maintains in his imaginary illusion that the
Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Federal seat is his birthright is on his own. An
Ezinihitte person can as well run. Let us hear from the aspirants
things that can make the electorate vote for them. From the campaigns
going on, with the level of sensitization and with the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) avowed promise to conduct
transparent vis-avis free, fair and credible elections, it may no
longer be business as usual. So political parties should endeavour to
come up with their “BEST” in order to win the heart of the masses. So
let nobody live under the illusion that he can always use undue
advantage, connection or position in government to manipulate the
process to his own advantage. Let your goodwill speak and work for
you. The best must surely emerge. WATCH OUT FOR PART TWO

COORDINATED AND WRITTEN BY THE FOLLOWING

Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha (07032934037)
Hon. Iheoma Emele (08022448157)
Prince Peter Onu (08038797442)

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