By Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA
Civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Sunday, advised former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to back out of the 2023 governorship race in Enugu state.
The group in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said rather than vie for a governorship seat, Ekweremadu should aim at a higher office and leave the governorship for a younger aspirant.
Ekweremadu’s campaign organization recently raised an alarm over alleged persecution but HURIWA noted that zoning has always been adhered to in determining who bears the party’s governorship flag.
“Former Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu should not allow his personal ambition to push him into saying things that are not factually accurate because there is nothing like political persecution in Enugu. The lawmaker should not, whether directly or by proxy, claim persecution because he is running a lost contest already and should not raise the false alarm to curry public pity.
“The fact of the matter is there in the public sphere: it is the turn of Enugu East Senatorial Zone to produce the next governor of the state and anything outside that as Ekweremadu is doing is inciting political violence because the people are not foolish.
“Recall that earlier in February 2022, Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; former governor of Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo; former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; former governor, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani; as well as his successor, Chief Sullivan Chime unanimously agreed to the principle of zoning, saying the principle of zoning of key political offices has been sustained in Enugu since 1999.
“Senator Chimaroke Nnamani from Enugu East zone was the governor of the state from 1999 to 2007, followed by Sullivan Chime from Enugu West zone from 2007 to 2015, while the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from 2015 to 2023 is from Enugu Nort.
“Automatically, it is the turn of Enugu East to produce the next governor in 2023 and not Enugu West which Ekweremadu belongs to. Anything other than that will lead to political chaos and deep-seated resentment.
“To put on record, contrary to claims by Ekweremadu, Enugu is currently witnessing good governance and Governor Ugwuanyi has even been applauded by the Army and many people as the most peaceful governor.
Ekweremadu ought to check his unbridled ambition to be governor against the agreed zoning formula in Enugu state.
“HURIWA, therefore, urged Ekweremadu to step down and look forward to the international and global position after serving many years as deputy Senate President which made him the number fifth citizen in Nigeria for years. How is he going back to struggle for a state position when he should be progressive-minded and let a younger breed of politicians with fresh ideas continue from where Ugwuanyi will stop?
“Ekweremadu must also check his unbridled ambition and desist from using his Abuja political forces to undermine good governance in Enugu State,” the statement read.