Zoning arrangement and Enugu State governorship

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DEMOCRACY which has over the years become the most beautiful bride for humanity largely due to its appeal of a greater good for a greater number of people still suffers from some lacerations in terms of accurate definitions. These lacerations and bruises are basically not due to lapses in the form of government itself but mainly as a result of the humans who practice it.https://ca7d3c9457de6328990e0ee34b15dedc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Even from the times of its cradle in ancient Greece human frailties have dogged it just like other forms of government. At the center of these bruises on democracies is the struggle for power. In fact, most African states who have come to embrace one form of democracy or the other associate it with elections and their direct translation of the word election reflect this inherent tension.

The Edos had a very robust monarchy long before the White man came and introduced their own form of governance, call government Arioba which literally means to eat oba.  So, to them, one cannot extricate governance from their revered throne. And when it comes to the election they call it ‘Azeh’, meaning to choose.

The tussle for power is in this same power of the people to choose.  For the Hausa, Gwagwar Mayan Zabe typifies the struggles identical to elections. Igbos in South-East of the River Niger refer to election as Ngorongoro Ochichi which literally means: pull me, I pull you. How apt!

Democracy and elections are true to ‘drag’ among the stakeholders. But an age-long debate that has trailed the ‘Government of the people, for the people and by the people as defined by Abraham Lincoln is if there is morality in democracy. Political ethics, also known as political morality or public ethics, is the practice of making moral judgments about political actions and political agents.

It covers two areas. The first is the ethics of process – or the ethics of office, which deals with public officials and their methods. The second area is the ethics of policy – or ethics and public policy, which concerns judgments surrounding policies and laws. For a long time the ancients, philosophers, theologians, and political actors have pondered the relationship between the moral realm and the political realm.

Complicating the long debate over the intersection of morality and politics are diverse conceptions of fundamental concepts: the right and the good, justice and equality, personal liberty and public interest. Divisions abound, also, about whether politics should be held to a higher moral standard at all, or whether, instead, pragmatic considerations or realpolitik should be the final word.

These two positions are represented conspicuously by Aristotle and Machiavelli. For Aristotle, the proper aim of politics is a moral virtue. He believed that “politics takes the greatest care in making the citizens be of a certain sort, namely good and capable of noble actions”.

Thus, the statesman is a craftsman or scientist who designs a legal system that enshrines universal principles, and the politician’s task is to maintain and reform the system when necessary. The science of politics includes more than drafting good laws and institutions, however, the city-state must create a system of moral education for its citizens. In contrast, Machiavelli’s Prince exalted pragmatism over morality, the maintenance of power over the pursuit of justice.

Machiavelli instructed that “a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things which are considered good in men, being often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against faith, against charity, against humanity, and against religion.” Today, the big question that confronts Enugu State borders on if our politicians are willing to practice the politics of morality which is the foundation for public decency and decorum. 

The Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, came to office with an approach of public morality and has not only etched his name on the annals of positive history through the provision of democracy dividends to the people of the state but by a dint of high moral standards. And this has stood him out as a man of grace and a good legacy. Importantly, he has been a man of peace and honor.

His peaceful demeanor has permeated all aspects of the state which has made Enugu the most stable and peaceful area in the entire South-East.  Through good governance, he has given all segments of the state a sense of belonging. He has given ears to the poor and downtrodden and alleviated their conditions in diverse ways.

These are all manifest in the area of infrastructure, healthcare, education, and human capital development. Now that Governor Ugwuanyi is on his way out with a superlative performance so far, it is only ideal and wise to look at succession and sustenance of the good work he has done. This is because success without succession is a failure in disguise. 

The wise and honorable thing for stakeholders to do now is for them to support Governor Ugwuanyi to produce a worthy successor who would continue the good work he has been doing. Good enough, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is aware of the zoning arrangement in place and has directed that all state chapters must adhere to the zoning formula.

Based on this, Governor Ugwuanyi should be allowed to choose his successor for seamless transition and consolidation of the good work that has been ongoing in the state. It is expected of all good party men and women in the state to respect the zoning formula in place that has so far worked for the PDP and the people of Enugu. This allowed Governor Nnamani to chose Sullivan Chime, who after his term supported the current Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi.  

That trend and tradition that has ensured peace, stability and progress in Enugu State should be allowed to continue. One, therefore, wonders why some leaders of the party in the state who claim to be party loyalists and good party men are now bent on truncating this smooth and profitable arrangement.

They are now engaging in actions that negate the spirit and letter of the arrangement and as directed by the national leadership of the PDP.  More worrisome is their utterances countering the zoning formula and overheating the polity in the state.  They cannot deny that there is a zoning arrangement in the state and as true party men the onus is on them to honour it, no matter how it affects them. That is statesmanship! 

Some of them have held political positions therein and held sway in one political position or the other since 1999 should now give way for the others to take over such positions. Former governors of the state such as Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and former Senate president have maintained that there has always been a zoning formula which should be sustained.

In his intervention, former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani has urged all stakeholders to abide by the zoning formula for the progress of the state. Therefore, the current anti-zoning gladiators should respect the wishes of the people as signified by this long standing arrangement.

It is time for all party faithful in the state to key into the platform created for the outgoing governor to work for the emergence of his preferred successor. As things stand now, the zoning arrangement has come to the turn of Enugu East Senatorial zone and they should be allowed to produce the next governor. 

So whoever is from any other zone should wait for their turn. In a democratic setting, people should know when to aspire and do so honourably without offending the sensibilities of the people. To this end, Enugu East senatorial zone should be supported by all to produce the next governor.

That is the way to go. It is important for the PDP leadership at the state level to take a hard stance against whoever wants to constitute a barrier and derail the process. They should be disciplined and shown the way out as there should be no room for indiscipline and impunity in the fold.

  Those who have benefitted from the zoning arrangement in the past who are now bent on destroying it because it is not in their favour for now to run for Governorship should retrace their steps before it is too late; because the people are watching! Indeed, the pride of democracy is creatively tucked in its consistency and loyalty!

Chief Okpala, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Enugu

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