As the issue of zoning gradually creeps into the political discourse in Anambra State ahead of its governorship election next year, a research recently conducted by Media Awareness and Development Advocacy Forum (MADAF) has shows that zoning is now very unpopular among the electorate in the state, as it is inconsequential to them too.
The findings came at a time some political actors, mostly the elites, are pushing an argument that the next governor of the state should be zoned to Anambra South.
However, a research carried out in the three senatorial districts of the state, which covers all the local government areas in the state, revealed that the issue of zoning in state is “irrelevant and unpopular” among the electorate.
‘’The zoning narrative in Anambra State is an elitist agenda aimed mainly at power grabing.
“Majority of the citizens and the electorate are looking up to credible candidates in the governorship election with capacity to deliver on good governance; address the issues of insecurity and unemployment among the youth; huge poverty, growing deficit of infrastructure and other socio-political and economic challenges in the state,” the report stated.
The research also stated that the citizens’ swelling disenchantment with the present state government over “its failure or refusal to deliver on his campaign promises,” became very pronounced during the research, indicating that any candidate the government supports in the next election will be very unpopular among the voters.
The report added: “There are many political stakeholders in the state, who hold the view that zoning system has outlived its usefulness in the state governorship seat, because each zone has at different times produced governors in the state.
“The argument of these people is that what matters in the next governorship election is the credibility of the candidate-somebody who can deliver on good governance.’’
It further explained that for a state, whose 80 percent of its voting population is not members of any political party, and 40 percent non-indigenes, the argument that zoning has the capacity for maintaining peaceful political order is “not just lazy, petty but a silly conversation.
‘’Zoning is more as an elitist strategy to negotiate continued participation in the political process and access to the state wealth at the expense of good governance and creative ideas to drive socio-political, economic and cultural potential of Anambra state, which the state has witnessed in the past seven years.”
The advocacy group, with technical capacity for opinion poll, said zoning political discourse, which is another name for “political turn-taking” epitomises a social device of corruption and a dishonest form of liberal democracy.
“For example, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to deny its strong-hold, Anambra Central, with over 60 percent voting population, by feeding an incompetent and unreliable candidate in the next governorship election, all in the name of zoning, will be suicidal and miserable.
“In Anambra South, for example, where some political elites appear to be making the fuss about zoning, 10 percent of the population interviewed suggested that the next governor should come from the zone, but stressed that the candidate must be credible, possessing the capacity to deliver on good governance,” the group said.
Explaining the process for the scientific project, the group stated that amid the contradicting conversations over zoning in Anambra State, the research set out to interrogate the opinion of the citizens on ‘the relevance of zoning or otherwise in the coming governorship election in the state’.