During every general election in Ebonyi State especially for the governorship position, justice and equity have always become a loud gospel and advocacy in the state. This Charter of Equity has never worked or been respected. It was concocted as a moral burden to ensure justice and equity to all the zones of the state.
The Charter of Equity was never written or discussed or agreed. It was only harboured in the mind. And even if there was, all the zones have abused it. It was even rumoured that when the choice of state capital was argued and competed by Ebonyi Founding Fathers, it was reportedly agreed that the Old Abakaliki zone will house the state capital, while the first Governor would come from old Ohaozara or Afikpo zone. Yet it never worked. Even after elections, no one surrenders to charter of Equity.
For the 2023 elections, political gladiators are contending that if the Charter of Equity had suffered perennial setbacks in the state, it’s not now that it will be implemented. However, now that the three zones in Ebonyi State have completed their turns of eight years respectively, all the zones have justifiable reasons to produce the next governor.
Most politicians are worried where the principle of equity emanated from. Since 1999, which of course was the first time Ebonyi State witnessed election after it’s creation in 1996, stakeholders and political gladiators have never discussed or agreed to any Charter of Equity.
The emergence of the first civilian Governor, Dr. Sam Egwu from Ebonyi North had no clear cut agreement. At a point, it was said that Ebonyi Central specifically Ezza clan was supposed to be the first Governor but the military administration at the transition period truncated the plan, which led to the Ebonyi North agenda.
When Egwu completed his tenure, aspirants from all the zones trooped out again that there was no Charter of Equity and even if there was, it should not undermine the Constitution of Nigeria which empowers individuals right to vote and be voted for. So, the struggle has been about the supremacy of the Constitution and untraceable Charter of Equity.
Egwu’s successor, Chief Martin Elechi can not also accept that he was a product of Charter of Equity and he never believed in it. However, Elechi pretentiously procured the concept of Charter of Equity, even when, he repeatedly maintained it was never written anywhere, when he wanted the former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu as his preferred choice from Ebonyi South. At the initial stage of politicking, the former Governor was too serious with the clamour of his Charter of Equity, just to sell his choice.
But when the chips were down and the aspiration of his preferred choice fell on the brick wall, Elechi abandoned the Charter of Equity and went ahead to anoint another aspirant from Ebonyi North. Anyway, Elechi’s predicament was obvious and he decided to payback the alleged ‘injustice” meted against him by the PDP.
In 2015, when Elechi’s Ebonyi South Agenda flopped based on Charter of Equity mission, he knew the only way to retaliate having been smoked out of the PDP, was to divert his structures to another political party which made him conscript his contractor, Edward Nkwegu of Ebonyi North to fly the ticket of the Labour Party.
It was at that time that it became glaring that the Charter of Equity was a fraudulent political strategy. Political followers became more aggrieved that the Charter of Equity was a selfish agenda by political gladiators. Those who were not completely convinced to support Engr David Umahi of the then PDP, started to shift ground in his favour.
Ebonyi people especially the people of Ebonyi South saw Elechi as a traitor because if he had genuinely believed in his Charter of Equity, he should have adopted a Southerner for the governorship ticket of the Labour Party.
As the 2023 governorship election draws near, some of the political actors have reawaken the antics of Charter of Equity. Egwu and Elechi are the principal actors that power should shift to Ebonyi North in respect to the Charter of Equity.
However, it’s quite understandable. Egwu who was the initiator of single term for the National Assembly position has been struggling and fine-tuning all possible strategies to return to the Senate for the third term in 2023. This can only be possible if Izzi clan which shares the same Senatorial zone with him is able to secure the governorship position. Political observers have also noted that Egwu’s position on power shift to the North was self serving. Without this, his third term ambition is history.
Nevertheless, Izzi people have vowed that Egwu may not be voted again no matter whose ox is gored. Against all odds, Egwu has flouted the agreement he purportedly made on single term for Ebonyi North Senators. In Ebonyi North, the people of Ebonyi council area are crying over marginalization for exclusion when the other three council areas have respectively had their turn.
Elechi, on his part, has the interest of his in-laws at heart. Whenever he pushes for Ebonyi North, Elechi has the Izzi agenda to his chest. Not minding his deficiencies, it is still not clear to many what Elechi has seen in Edward Nkwegu that the former Governor wants him to rule Ebonyi State by all means. Is it to retain the strongest share on Nkalagu cement factory? Nkwegu was the State contractor throughout Elechi’s eight years. Or is there anything beyond the optics between Elechi and Nkwegu?
Many candidates have indicated interest to run the governorship election in the leading political parties. Many factors are being considered. Many questions are on the lips of Ebonyians.
Who will go for us? Who will consolidate on the infrastructural strides of the Umahi’s administration and who will correct any inadequacy of the present administration? Who will unite the state more and who will bear the burdens of the People? And many more.
To an extent, the Ebonyi governorship election may not be political parties affairs. Voters maybe interested in individual capacities not minding whether he is in APC or PDP. There are a lot of uncertainties and tension in the polity. Imposition maybe a bad influence to any political party.
Already, the populous people of Ezza clan in Ebonyi central have unanimously agreed to support any political party that adopts their son as the governorship ticket. The choice of an Ezza man has become much acceptable amongst the zones in the state. As the eldest son in the state, It’s believed in some quarters that an Ezza man will unify the state than another person or clan. Part of their submissions, however, is that even if Ebonyi Central or North takes the governorship ticket, none of the zone will nurse marginalization, after all, one zone may still take over after eight years.
In the PDP flank, some of stalwarts have indicated interest to contest. From the Ebonyi Central zone, Senator Obinna Ogba; member Representing Ishielu/Ezza North Federal Constituency, Hon. Anayo Edwin Nwonu and some few others have declared their interest. From Ebonyi North zone, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, fourth time member of House of Representatives; Former Speaker and member House of Representatives, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku; Chief Fidelis Nwankwo are notable contestants.
In the APC flank, Senator Julius Ucha ranks the leading hopefuls for the ticket and he is from Ebonyi Central. The likes of the Speaker Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Ogbonna Nwifuru and Hon. Elias Mbam are notable contestants from Ebonyi North.
The die is cast and Ebonyians are waiting for the outcome of party primaries. There maybe a total showdown as all aspirants are on their owns. It’s expected that there maybe mutual defection to APC and PDP in some months ahead. Those who Umahi had declared as “rumour mongers and gossipers” may finally excuse themselves from the present government if they wish. Those who are still proving “stubborn” to join APC with the governor may also be lured with automatic tickets to leave PDP. There will be a lot of betrayals, disappointments and uncertainties after all, they will always claim that it’s an outgoing administration and it’s survival of the fittest.
Many candidates have indicated interest to run the governorship election in the leading political parties. Many factors are being considered. Many questions are on the lips of Ebonyians. Who will go for us? Who will consolidate on the infrastructural strides of the Umahi’s administration and who will correct any inadequacy of the present administration? Who will unite the state more and who will bear the burdens of the People? And many more.