Ebonyi 2023: PDP chieftain wants party to convoke conference on zoning

Ahead of preparations for the 2023 governorship election in Ebonyi state, a Chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mudi Erhenede, has called on stakeholders and leaders of the party to immediately convoke a conference to address the issue of zoning of the governorship seat in the state, maintaining it will geared towards eliminating rancour and acrimony among party faithful.

Erhenede, who is a lawyer and the Legal Adviser of the Party in the state made the assertion in Afikpo, the Headquarters of Afikpo North Local Government Area during an interactive session with Journalists as part of activities to commemorate his birthday.

Speaking on his Party’s preparedness and political activities in the state ahead of the 2023 general election, he called on leaders and stakeholders of PDP to convoke a meeting as quickly as possible where stakeholders would agree on the pattern of zoning arrangements to be adopted by the Party during the 2023 Governorship election in the State.

According to him, “Let the Leaders come and say whether we are doing bloc or by zone. If we say it is the turn of the Abakaliki bloc, the implication is that anybody from the North and Central zones is free to participate. But if we are not saying this and we say we are doing zoning, the Party should define which zone should take it (the Governorship) now in the PDP”

Continuing, he said, “The question should be asked and answered whether we are going to do zoning going by the three components units of the state which is; North, Central and South or are we doing blocs because as it stands today, it has not been clearly defined.”

 Insisting that his position is not targeted for or against any aspirant, Erhenede said, “I am not against anybody who wants to be Governor. I will support anybody that my party produces as its Flagbearer “

He however noted that “During the end of Dr. Sam Egwu administration in 2007, we argued that Power should rotate to Afikpo bloc since Egwu was of Abakaliki bloc, but Egwu advised that the State should go by a zonal arrangement comprising; North, Central and South and he handed over Power to the Central zone”

Describing zoning as a product of convenience, he said “equity, needs to be your keeper. These are the things that gave birth to zoning. The closest thing to zoning in our constitution is Federal Character Principle.

The lawyer noted however, “I think we have reached a point where we are almost becoming slaves to zoning, integrity, competence, qualification, capacity and every other thing that should come first are being sacrificed on the altar of zoning “

He said, “Now that the three zones have enjoyed power, people are now talking of blocs, there is no time we met to say power will now rotate between Abakaliki and Afikpo bloc. But my worry is that somebody somewhere is either running away from doing the needful or trying to cut corners.”

“If PDP cannot convoke a meeting and make a clear pronouncement on whether in Ebonyi State we are now doing blocs that is; Afikpo or Abakaliki, or zonal arrangement where this things will be sorted out, outside these two situations, I am of the view that everybody who has capacity and thinks he could run for Governorship and win should be allowed to participate irrespective of which zone you are from.”

He also condemned the state Government’s passage of the Cybercrime (Prohibition) Law of Ebonyi State 2021 describing it as dangerous, undemocratic, and a biggest assault on democracy.

Erhenede who reiterated that the Cybercrime Prohibition law is the most subjective piece of legislation in Nigeria’s democratic history highlighted for instance that

“Section 8 of the Cybercrime Law says that the Police cannot prosecute anybody on account of any infringement of this Law without the Written Consent of the Attorney General. Imagine me as a PDP member writing to the Attorney General of the State who is an appointee of the Governor abused me on Social media and he is someone in his Party, APC. How will he go against his master and bring the law to effect on such a person? That Law was made to witch-hunt and intimidate PDP members.”

Speaking against the backdrop of the Operations of Ebubeagu Security Outfit in the State, Erhenede described the outfit as anti-democratic and an infringement on the Rights and privileges of the people.

“It is an anomaly that anybody is defending the operations of Ebubeagu where the State Chairman of APC is the Security Consultant and Head of Ebubeagu. What do you think will happen? Would he support PDP against his own party? Ebubeagu was formed to prosecute the APC Agenda in Ebonyi State”, he concluded, vowing that the PDP will stop at nothing to challenge the Cybercrime Law in Courts of competent jurisdictions.