Posted by News Express | 16 March 2022 | 557 times
A former national auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barr Ray Nnaji, has vowed to drag the party in the State to court if it fails to maintain the existing rotation and allows former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu or others outside Enugu East to pick its governorship ticket.
Nnaji, who expressed worry over the silence of the party leadership on the rotation of the governorship position, insisted that by convention and practice, the seat should be zoned to Enugu East Senatorial District.
Nnaji, who is a two-term chairman of Nkanu West LGA and former commissioner, was reacting to the issues raised by Ekweremadu last weekend during his consultation with the media on his intentions to become Governor.
Ekweremadu said that there has never been zoning of the governorship position in the State and those who governed Enugu never emerged through zoning.
But speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Tuesday, the PDP chieftain threatened to test in court the provisions of Section 7(3c) of the PDP Constitution regarding rotation of party and public offices.
“I have to tell you, if the party fails to zone its governorship position to Enugu East, we will have to test the party constitution in court whether the party has right to do that based on the provisions of the party constitution.
“Ekweremadu should prepare if the party says it will listen to him and give him the ticket. I am saying that there’s no need for the party to throw the ticket open because of the existing convention and that the position has gone round. So, it has to start from the first zone which is Enugu East.
“It is not as though if it is thrown open, somebody like Ekweremadu will take it from us. Mark my words. But what we are saying is that we will have to test the provision of the constitution if the ticket is thrown open. We will have to answer the question of where do we start after the position has gone round the three zones,” he said.
He described Ekweremadu’s remarks about zoning as misinformation that should not be allowed to stand, adding that “the first section of the latest PDP Constitution (2017) makes it clear that everybody is subject to the provisions of the constitution subject to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That same section one says the provision of the constitution is binding on everybody.
“Section 7(3c) states that rotation of public offices is compulsory. It says that adhering to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices in pursuance of the principles of equity, justice and fairness.
“Ekweremadu is aware of this provision because he cannot pretend not to be aware. If not for any other thing, he’s a lawyer. The party put this in the Constitution to give room for fairness and equity.
“He also said that if anybody is challenging him to the fact that zoning was discussed anywhere in the state, the person should speak up. I want to tell him clearly that it is not true that zoning was never discussed anywhere in the state.
“It has been a convention that governorship position rotates among the three Senatorial Districts. And it has come to stay taking effect from 1999. The reference he was making about Jim Nwobodo, C. C. Onoh and Okwesilieze Nwodo having been governor of Enugu State, that was the period zoning and rotation were never in existence.
“The issue of zoning started in 1999. Though, Chimaraoke Nnamani is not a product of zoning. But he started the issue of rotation. I knew quite well that at that point in time, he had the capacity to retain the governorship position in Nkanu (Enugu East) where he comes from in 2007.
“But for the issue of equity, justice and fairness, he decided that the power should shift to another zone. The question then was between Enugu West and Enugu North which would take first.
“I had several discussions about that to the effect that I concluded that Enugu West should take it. And one day when I visited him, he told me he had taken a decision that Enugu West should take the position. That was why power was shifted to the West and Sullivan Chime incidentally took the position.
“I was also meant to understand that there was a meeting Chimaraoke Nnamani called where the decision to shift the position to Enugu West was taken. Senator Collins Ndu, Ekweremadu and some others were in that meeting. It is not an issue that everybody must be in that meeting to take decision.
“Now that it has gone round, the question now is, are we going to allow it to be open or maintain the existing rotation? This thing is like a clock that must be allowed to continue to go clockwise.
“Enugu East that started the zoning has been out of power for 16 years and should take their turn immediately. Obviously after Enugu East, it will be the turn of Enugu West where Ekweremadu comes from.
“Ekweremadu’s argument on no zoning is because he believes quite well that after eight years, he would not be politically relevant to contest the position anymore. That’s why he wants to rock the boat by saying there’s no zoning principle.
“I will have to tell you that even if there is zoning, when the party comes out to announce where the position is going based on our constitution, it’s not going to foreclose other people who have interest. You can go and buy the form, enter the race. If you succeed, fine and good.
“I want to remind you that even when Sullivan was picked from the West, Chimaraoke’s deputy, Okechukwu Itanyi from the North also contested but lost.
“So, we’re not saying that Ekweremadu has no right to contest. But his chances of success will be reduced to the barest minimum if the party takes a position on where the ticket is going,” he said. (The Nation)
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