Zoning as a factor: The South yearns to be treated fairly like the rest…
By March 2021, Anambra would have been under the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, for an uninterrupted period of 15 years. Unlike other States that are either governed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, or All Progressives Congress, APC, Anambra State is politically unique.
Victory in a competition is usually a product of a number of inter-playing factors and circumstances. One of the factors that will have an over-reaching influence on the outcome of the race for Agu-Awka-(Anambra Government House) is the concept of zoning. Zoning as a political concept has palpably polarized Ndi Anambra. The topic is now on the lips of Ndi Anambra and draws great passion from both sides of the divide.
Advocates of zoning view it as a panacea to all forms of communal political inequalities. To them, it is a damper for unnecessary overheating of the polity and a deliberate political design to enthrone, deepen, and sustain equity, justice, and fairness. Anambra voter’s opinion of it can be looked at from the prism of the role it played in the Anambra 2017 governorship election as well as the number, class and calibre of individuals and groups that are pro-zoning.
Zoning is believed to be the magic wand that gave APGA victory in the 2017 governorship election as her campaign mantra was, “Let the North finish its eight years, then power will shift to the South”. This was a powerful driver of the voting pattern in 2017. The voters keyed in
and that did it for the State’s ruling Party.
Pundits and analysts have argued that the issue of APGA ‘going south’ for its next governorship flag-bearer is a concluded arrangement. And this is for two obvious reasons. First; it was the Party’s major campaign mantra in 2017, and it yielded the desired result as the people of Anambra South believed it and played along. Secondly, the promise of zoning immensely shaped the whole State’s voting trajectory in that election. APGA, conscious of the earlier promise and aware of the consequences of reneging on it sees 2021 as the time to fulfill the promise. Their next campaign slogan in the South would likely be “Promise made, promise kept.”
Again, with the poor performance of PDP and its fellow opposition Parties in the 2017 election, combined with the arguments and political facts above, the opposition Parties had no other option than to queue to the ruling Party’s vision, hence, fielding candidates from the South. It would have been foolhardy fielding a non-Southern candidate and would have spelt doom for rival parties, putting them in the same shoe they wore in the 2017 gubernatorial poll.
Notably, almost all the contesting political parties have fielded candidates from the Anambra South Senatorial zone but difference exists in their communities. APC, PDP and APGA have pitched their tent in Aguata, having separately elected Amesi-born Ozigbo and Uga-born Ugochukwu in the parallel primaries. APGA in their own parallel primaries elected
Isuofia- born Soludo, Ezinifite -born Umeoji and Njoku with Imo state background, while APC’s Andy Uba hail from Uga, all in Aguata Local Government Area. Candidates for Parties like LP, YPP and ADC hail from Nnewi and Okija respectively but all in the same Anambra South.
Visibly, the battle has been taken to Anambra South. While votes emanating from this district may be shared on communal basis, it lies on the parties to curry favour from Anambra North and Central to drive home victory.