Following recent endorsement of power shift by the PDP caucus and
Governor Sullivan Chime to Enugu North, a close ally of former Governor
Chimaroke Nnamani and henchman of the Ebeano political group, Sir Sam
Ejiofor, has said that there is no zoning arrangement in the state.
Ejiofor, who spoke in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun in his
country home in Agbani, said the Ebeano political machine, which threw
up Chime but which he sometime pronounced dead, is still very much
alive. He spoke to PETRUS OBI in Enugu.
Sir, what is your position on the controversial zoning
arrangement in the state that saw the zoning of the 2015 governorship
position to Nsukka zone?
As a politician, I must tell you that I don’t believe in zoning.
Zoning is a lazy man’s way of aspiring to a political position. What
should occupy our mind is, who will deliver the goods. The question is,
if we produce an Nsukka man, is he the governor of Nsukka or the
governor of Enugu State? The same thing goes for an Udi or Nkanu man.
The problem of Nigerian politics is divisive tendencies – ethnicity,
religious bickering, sectionalism. These are our problems. We are not
patriotic enough to have Nigeria as an umbrella; as our own. These
divisive tendencies breed all the ills we have in our society. It
breeds corruption; it breeds sectional sentiments, it breeds
favouritism. When somebody is working in a place, instead of focusing on
the issues, he will be thinking of favouring his people because this is
his turn. If these things have to die, we won’t be talking about
zoning; we will be talking about capability; we will be talking about
who is able; we will be talking about wise vision, wise programme.
I strongly support the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. There
was never a time we had a written agreement on zoning in Enugu State.
When Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani contested as governor, did he contest with an
Nkanu man or people from Enugu East Senatorial Zone? He contested with
people like Nduka Agu, Ogbuefi Ozongbachi, Dubem Onyia, Eddy Ugwu from
Nsukka, just name them; they all contested under the same PDP. They
failed and Chimaroke won and they are talking about zoning. Even
Sullivan Chime, when he contested, it was not only Udi people that
presented candidates, Nsukka people presented. A lot of them; the same
Eddy Ugwu, the same Okey Ezea, Fidel Ayogu all of them contested. Is it
because Sullivan won that they are now talking of zoning? Forwhat? There
is no zoning. If there must be zoning, we should sit down and draw the
procedure for the zoning so that if it is the turn of Enugu East, every
candidate must come from that zone. A situation where somebody is
contesting from all the zones and one other person won and you say it’s
zoning, that is rubbish.
So there is no zoning; what we should be talking about is who knows
the problems of Enugu State; who will solve the problem of Enugu State.
Besides, what causes this issue of zoning is the same problem – bad
governance. People do not care who you are if you are giving them their
due; if you are providing jobs equitable; it’s because of the principle
of winner-takes-all, that’s why we are talking about zoning. If governor
sees himself as the number one citizen of the state and carries
everybody along, gives employment to qualified persons from every part
of the state, builds roads equitably, nobody will talk about zoning. Get
to the Government House, you will only be hearing one language: ‘Di
anyi emeko kwe ya’ you’ve known where he is coming from. If it’s an
Nsukka man, ‘also’ if it is Nkanu man‘si ahara ya’. People thought that
those slangs are for nothing, they are for identification of where one
comes from, and that is the problem. So anybody who wants to contest
should come and tell Enugu people what he wants to do for them. That is
who I will support. But if you are coming on the grounds that you are
from Nsukka or you are from the East, that is rubbish; that is nonsense.
We shouldn’t talk about it; it is not an effective way for democracy to
prevail and to flourish in our society.
What has happened to the Ebeano political group? Is it dead?
Whether you like it or not, there are still legacies that Ebeano will
never die. What might die may be the composition because politics is
about interest. Why do we have a nuclear family, extended family, a
village a town, a community? Even the state comes up from a little
nuclear family. Previously, all of us were from Eastern Region,
including Rivers and South-South. Later on, it was split into states. We
have old Anambra State from there Ebonyi went and now we have Enugu
State. Even in this current Enugu, Nsukka is itching for Adada State. As
they are growing, the nomenclature changes, the structure changes, the
feature changes but still for the fact that we all hail from Igboland,
we are still Igbos, that expansion does not remove it. That is exactly
what Ebeano is. Ebeano has grown as a big family; a big political
empire, having so many leaders, so many extended structures, but it is
there. The moment you get to the Ebeano Tunnel, you remember Ebeano; the
moment you get to Otigba Junction, you remember Ebeano; the moment you
come to Ebeano city, ESUT, and you remember Ebeano. And the moment you
remember those things, you will see the remnants of Ebeano there.