Enugu West Council Chairmen, PDP EXCOs carpet Sen. Ekweremadu’s stand on zoning

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The Local Government Chairmen in Enugu West Senatorial District of Enugu State have joined in the ongoing zoning controversy in Enugu State, accusing the Senator representing the senatorial district, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of being economical with the truth.

The five council chairmen from the senatorial district made their position known in a communiqué they issued after their meeting in Udi Local Government Area of the State.

The communiqué was signed by Hon Ajah Beneath Ogbonna, Executive Chairman Aninri LGA, Hon. Pedro Nwankwo, Executive Chairman, Awgu LGA, Nze Philip Okoh, Executive Chairman Udi LGA, Hon. Chinedu Onyeagba, Executive Chairman, Oji River LGA and Hon. Chukwudi Ozoelube, Executive Chairman, Ezeagu LGA and State Vice Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON).

Ekweremadu had while declaring his governorship ambition last week challenged proponents of zoning to state when and where such an agreement was ever reached.

But in the communiqué, the council chairmen said the federal lawmaker was present at the meeting of July 7, 2013 where the Enugu State Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, reached an agreement on zoning.

They said, “the Senator was economical with the truth when he said that there has never been any zoning arrangement/agreement in Enugu State regarding the pattern of emergence of the State Governor. He challenged anyone to show him where and when such an agreement was written.

This came as the Forum of Local Government Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu West Senatorial District also faulted Ekweremadu’s comments against zoning, declaring their unalloyed support for zoning of the governorship position in Enugu State.

The PDP LG Chairmen took the stand in a communiqué issued after their meeting on Monday and by signed by Hon. Okechukwu Aneke (Udi LG Chairman) Hon. Nebo Chukwujekwu Emmanuel (Deputy Chairman, Awgu), Ozor Anayo Chude, (Ezeagu) Hon. Godwin Anekwe, (Oji River) and Hon. Victor Okoro, (Aninri).

Reacting further, the Chairmen of the five LGAs in Enugu West Senatorial District stated: “We hereby refer him to the press statement and written address presented by Senator Ben Collins Ndu; his immediate predecessor from Enugu West Senatorial District.

“Senator Ndu had during the Ifemelumma Enugu West rally exhibited minutes of the meeting of Enugu State Stakeholders (PDP State Caucus) where this agreement was reaffirmed in 2013.

“Senator Ekweremadu was said to be present in that meeting. We, therefore, throw the challenge back to our senator to first debunk the existing exhibit before throwing a challenge.

“Secondly, Chief Dubem Onyia (former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Member, House of Representatives) recently made a press statement that independently affirmed that the zoning pattern was reaffirmed in a meeting of Enugu State Stakeholders in 2013 with Senator Ekweremadu in attendance.

“In the said meeting, it was resolved that Enugu North Senatorial Zone should produce the next Governor in 2015. The minutes of that meeting was shown by Chief Onyia. The motion was adopted unanimously. He said that the motion was further amended by a motion moved by Dr. Charles Egumgbe (Pioneer Chairman of PDP Enugu State and current Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters) to the effect that the motion should contain where the next governor shall come from after the end of the tenure of 2015 to 2023 and it was also unanimously adopted that Enugu East Senatorial Zone should take the mantle by 2023. The minutes did not say that our Senator had a dissenting voice.”

“We ask Senator Ekweremadu to come and tell us whether the meeting as quoted by both Senator Ndu and Chief Onyia never held or that he was never present therein. His inability to provide the requested clarification will amount to dishonesty and unnecessary deceit of our people.

“We are aware that even Senator Ekweremadu’s position in the Senate is a product of zoning and the newly elected Councilor of his ward and Chairman of his Local Government Area are all products of zoning.

“As the Chairman of the PDP 2015 post-election review committee, Senator Ekweremadu recommended that PDP lost the presidential election because it abandoned zoning and advised that the zoning principle should be strictly applied at all levels in PDP. We now wonder why the same Sen. Ekweremadu is trying to destroy the zoning in Enugu State if it is not for his selfishness and a reflection of a man who practices diabolical double standard.

“Senator Ekweremadu claimed that he will bring gigantic developmental projects to Enugu State through his network of friends, experience, and capabilities. We are shocked by his failure to have used the qualities he boasts of to the advantage of Enugu West Senatorial District that bequeathed him 5 terms, across 20 years in the Senate. It is either Sen. Ekweremadu has commenced his bid on falsehood or he admits to having short-changed the people of Enugu West Senatorial District for 20 whole years. Enugu West takes exception to this misrule. Ekweremadu will lead us to nowhere,” the chairmen further stated.

They reiterated the support of the people and government of the five LGAs in Enugu West Senatorial District for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the State.

“We assure our Governor that Enugu West Senatorial District will never be the black sheep Senatorial District of the State. We support that the next Governor of Enugu State should come from Enugu East Senatorial District pursuant to the existing zoning arrangement in the State.

“The zoning of the Enugu Governorship position has brought us peace and progress. Consequently, we will continue to encourage and support our Governor to continue this noble practice.

“We dissociate our people and ourselves from the declaration done by Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Such a declaration is either the product of a very bad advice or mischievously contrived to serve his selfish interest,” they stressed.

On their part, the Forum of Chairmen of the PDP, in Enugu West Senatorial District further said: “Having given such unalloyed and undiluted support to previous Governors of Enugu State even unto their choices of successors, we shall without reservation extend our total support to whoever His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi decides to support as his successor come 2023 in line with our long-standing tradition of following our leader to the last second.

“We unequivocally support the zoning pattern that is practiced in Enugu State since 1999. We acknowledge that it is not the turn of Enugu West Senatorial Zone to produce the next Governor of Enugu State and supports that the next Governor of the state shall come from Enugu East Senatorial Zone.

“We are happy with the peace being enjoyed in Enugu State which is a testament to Governor Ugwuanyi’s sound and good governance.

“We assure His Excellency of the support and loyalty of the teaming PDP members from the entire five Local Governments of Enugu West.”

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