Anambra 2025: Pressure mounts on APC over zoning agreement

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Ahead of the 2025 governorship election in Anambra State, the All Progressives Congress, APC, walks a tightrope.

Anambra has an unwritten zoning arrangement for the governorship position, which rotates between the three senatorial zones in the state.

The arrangement became more pronounced in 2012 during the twilight of the administration of then governor, Mr Peter Obi.

Obi had insisted on the then ruling party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) producing a candidate from Anambra North as a way to make for balance, after Mbadinuju from the South had finished a four-year-term, and himself from the central senatorial zone finished eight years term.

Before then, Ngige who held sway for three years was also from central.

This prompted Obi to insist on the North, which is perceived as a minority zone in the state, to produce the next governor on the basis of equity, as it was believed that if the contest was declared open to all zones, they may never be able to have a shot at the position.

Obiano’s emergence from the North then sealed the zoning agreement and left it standing.

As Prof Chukwuma Soludo rounds off his first tenure, the clamour for governorship has heightened.

But contrary to claims of zoning, the APC seems to want to scuttle the arrangement, by insisting on throwing open the contest to all interested.

In June, a group of elders from the party under the aegis of All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders Forum, led by Chief Innocent Obi, met and reinforced the Anambra zoning formula.

The group said that if the APC would upstage the ruling party in the 2025 governorship election, it must field a southern candidate in line with the zoning agreement.

Obi said: “For me, an agreement is an agreement whether written or not. There’s a system already at work in Anambra State. Anybody who denies that is not saying the truth. As elders, we should say it the way it is.

“An arrangement is on the ground. During the 2022 election, the party that pretended that zoning is nonsense suffered for it. They suffered because someone who contested under their platform did not come from where that post should go.

“Whatever decision our party comes up with, the elders must go with them because we’re under them.

“The elders will be pleased if the candidate comes from the South. If you ask me, the South has done four years and the South has four extra years.”

There have been various positions on the matter too.

A chieftain of the party, Mr Pope Amaefuna in a recent opinion piece insisted that any attempt by the party not to field a candidate from the South, and a popular one at that, would cost the party victory.

He said: “The politics of Anambra State has enjoyed relative stability, equity and fairness, thanks to the adoption of the zoning principle.

“Major political parties acknowledged the power rotation formula as reflected by the choice of candidates paraded in Anambra elections in the past decade.

“In reality, APC can no longer afford to continue playing opposition politics in Anambra State and all hands must be on deck to ensure a power shift in the 2025 governorship election.

“Considering the disposition of the Anambra electorate, if the APC makes the mistake of failing to field a strong and popular candidate from Anambra South in favour of parading a candidate from any other zone, then it is safe to kiss the governorship aspirations of the party goodbye as the move would truncate the remaining four years tenure of Anambra South.

“The implication is that a new candidate from any other zone might tentatively lay claims to an eight year tenure instead of four and that is the last thing any right thinking Anambra wants at this epoch.

“Very importantly, the proponents and advocates of no zoning should be wary of what they preach as they risk swallowing their own vomit.”

“Considering the political culture of Anambra State today, any party that does not abide by the zoning formula adopted by stakeholders in rotation of the governorship seat of the state stands no chance of winning the forthcoming guber poll and historical indices support this position.

“Any APC member who is currently crusading for no zoning has been compromised and commissioned to work against the party and such a character should be considered an enemy of the party who are actively working against the party interests,” Amaefuna stated.

Meanwhile, another group within the party, under the aegis of APC Progressives Media in a press release argued that the zoning arguments were aimed at misleading the Anambra APC into falling into a political trap designed to annihilate the party’s gubernatorial chances in 2025.

The group said: “After careful examination, we have confirmed that the authors of these articles are unknown to the Anambra APC and are neither card-carrying members of the party nor affiliated with it in any way. Therefore, we can understand their ignorance about the traditions of the APC in Anambra State.

“The APC in Anambra State has no history of zoning the gubernatorial election.

“Instead, every candidate who has contested under the umbrella of the APC since its formation has done so on the strength of their popularity and acceptance within the party fold and that of the voting public.

“For instance, in 2013, when the APGA zoned its candidate to Anambra North, the APC chose its candidate from Anambra Central, with aspirants from all zones contesting in the primaries.

“Similarly, in 2017, the APC candidate won based on his popularity within the party and not due to zoning. Aspirants from all political zones contested in that primary, just like in 2013 and 2021.”

In what looked like support for the Progressives Media, the APC, Anambra State Chapter, says the party is not in for any zoning arrangement.

In a release signed by the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Valentine Iyke-Oliobi, the party dismissed those clamouring for zoning.

It brushed aside both the elders forum and Amaefuna who had previously spoken in favour of zoning, describing them as unknown to the party.

It said: “The Anambra State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) wants to categorically state that our party has no zoning arrangements whatsoever.

“Also, APC as a party was not involved in any agreement with any political party or parties as regards to zoning as being falsely peddled by the group in their publications.

“The APC has always provided a level playing field for all governorship aspirants under the platform of the party to participate irrespective of their Senatorial zones.

“This practice has not changed. We, therefore, call on well meaning members of our party to disregard the said publication insinuating any existing zoning arrangement by the APC.”

As the back and forth on zoning continues, political analysts have predicted that the party may shoot itself in the leg by attempting to scuttle the existing zoning arrangement that has run smoothly.

Mr Chijioke Eze, a political Analyst said: “I have read the press release by both the party and the Progressives Media, and I feel compelled to say that APC in Anambra cannot be doing the same thing all over again, and expect a different result.

“They keep saying the contest has always been free to all, and each time they run, they always lose, and every four years they come back again with the same formula.

“I think it is either the party with the change mantra is not ready to change, or they are not desirous of producing a governor here.”

Also, another respondent, Dr Justin Ogoo Nwankwo said Anambra South is the beautiful bride in the 2025 governorship election in the state, and that APC must shun rhetorics and keep their eyes on equity and capacity.

Nwankwo argued that if APC must perform creditably in the election, it must field a candidate from the southern zone who can battle Soludo, and also ensure to pick a popular candidate who has the capacity to upstage the current governor.

“The fact is that the APC as a party has not won the governorship election in the state before, but evidence and data available suggest that with the right choice and strategy, the party can win Anambra State Governorship election.

“It is therefore very urgent to remind Ndi Anambra from this point of departure and especially members of our great party, APC that as a party, the APC is not rejected in Anambra State.

“This is a party that with the right motivation and balance, has always done well in gubernatorial elections.

“It is rather, the lack of circumspect by some party leaders or of the basic principles of power sharing by the stakeholders that continually places the fate of the party in oblivion.

“We therefore call for APC Anambra to project two key indicators heading into the most important election in the life of the party, which are Equity and Capacity,” he added.

So far, two members of the party have indicated their interests in vying for the ticket.

They include Senator Andy Ubah, a serving senator of the party who hails from Anambra South, and Mr Paul Chukwuma, a former National Auditor of the party from Anambra North zone.

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