A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former national auditor, Ray Nnaji, has revealed the reason behind his insistence that a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, should not contest the 2023 governorship seat of Enugu State.
Nnaji said the reason is that by 2031 when the governorship position would be coming to Enugu West senatorial zone, where he (Nnaji) comes from, Ekweremadu would have been politically irrelevant in the politics of the state.
Nnaji said, “So, 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.”
The controversy surrounding zoning of the governorship seat has recently been the subject of public discourse in the state.
Senator Ben Collins Ndu, had last week during a press conference brandished a document which he said Senator Ekweremadu signed, agreeing that the Enugu governorship seat should rotate among the three senatorial districts of the state, and that the 2023 governorship position should go to Enugu East senatorial zone where it started in 1999.
But Nnaji in an interview alleged that Ekweremadu wants to rock the boat because of his ambition to be governor.
Nnaji said, “I want to correct this misinformation I read of what the former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said last weekend about the zoning of governorship position in Enugu. He specifically said two things; one zoning and that he was the campaign Director of Chimaraoke Nnamani. These are not correct. And I want to correct them so that the reading public would not think it is the correct situation.
“This is because I am one of the major stakeholders of the PDP where Ekweremadu also belongs. And also someone from Enugu East, if I allow his misinformation to stand without correction, it would look as if that is the position of the party or the way things have been in the state.”
On the issue of zoning, Nnaji said all of them belonged to the PDP, and were bound by the constitution of the party.
“The first section of the 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 1 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 the party and public elective offices in pursuance of the principles of equity, justice and fairness,” he said.
“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.”
On the statement that he was the campaign manager of Chimaroke Nnamani, Nnaji said that was false.
“This is because the campaign manager then was Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, the current APC state chairman. I am the one that appointed him when I was the local government chairman in 1997. He was the second vice-chairman of our party then, UNCP. Then, Ekweremadu was not part of us. He was not even a founding member of the PDP. He was rather in APP then. Unless, he was referring to the second term of Chimaroke which is also not true,” he added.