Ekwunife Makes Case for Anambra Women

0
Uche Ekwunife

The senator representing Anambra Central senatorial zone, Mrs Uche Ekwunife has brought a new argument to the governorship zoning discussion in the state, writes David-Chyddy Eleke

By dint of sheer hard work, Senator Uche Ekwunife has successfully etched her name in the annals of Anambra’s political history. When the story of Anambra’s contemporary political history will be written, she will get a sizeable mention, but if the mention will be negative or positive depends on who the writer and his or her biases are.

As Anambra moves close to a new season of deciding who should replace the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, there have been arguments about what zone of the state the next governor should come from. Obiano hails from the northern senatorial zone of the state, and by 2022, he would have completed his eight years of two terms as governor in the state; a position that came to the zone through the benevolence of the former governor, Mr Peter Obi, who insisted that a governor must come from the area, having not been privileged to produce one, since the creation of the state.

The popular argument has been that with Peter Obi who hails from the central zone having handed over to Obiano from the north, the southern senatorial zone is due to produce the next governor of the state. The argument has gone back and forth, with the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) clearly stating that it has zoned the governorship ticket of its party to the south. Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) has however stated too that every qualified citizen has the right to contest, and that zoning the position would amount to unlawfully disenfranchising its members who had interest in the position. This it said would stand, unless the party later reviews its position.

However, Senator Ekwunife who hails from Igboukwu, Aguata LGA, which falls in the Southern zone, but married to a man from Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area, which is in the central senatorial zone is the senator representing the zone. The grassroot politician who is also rooting to become the governor of the state has also declared that she is favourably disposed to the southern zone producing the next governor, but has also introduced a new angle to the zoning game, saying that the best form of zoning is not from one senatorial zone to the other, but should rather be from man to woman.

At a recent meeting in her native Igboukwu community, during the unveiling of Odenigbo Art Gallery by an art enthusiast, Uchenna Nwosu, Ekwunife reechoed it again, that the best way to address the raging issue of zoning in the next Anambra governorship election is to zone the office from a man to a woman. Informing her people of her desire to occupy the Anambra government house, Ekwunife said she was not only qualified by leadership, experience and capacity, but that zoning of the governorship seat by senatorial zone and gender favours her.

Though there have been criticisms against the senator for being in the Senate on account of being married to a man from the central senatorial zone, and also angling for the governorship seat which is now being considered for people from the south, on the account that she originally hails from there, she gave examples of women who have occupied political offices by virtue of their paternal origin and not by marital zones, she said her being Anambra South by birth and Central by marriage should be seen as an advantage instead.

“The main story now is zoning and I am also recognised by that because zoning favours me too. There have been political precedents to that method too. Josephine Anenih was married to an Edo man but she represented Anambra, her home state as a minister. As at last month, Chris Ngige’s wife is a permanent secretary for Delta State but she is a director in Anambra State. Florence Ita-Giwa represented Cross River as senator and not Edo where her husband hailed from. The current senator, representing Anambra North, Stella Oduah, is from Anambra North but she was married to an Edo man. Daisy Danjuma represented Edo in the National Assembly and not Taraba where her husband comes from.

“So many precedents here and there, but the most important thing is that you have somebody who is competent to govern you well. The men have done well in governance but the main zoning needed now is from man to woman, that is the authentic zoning. In all, I am covered, zoning from North to South or from man to woman. I am not running because I am a woman but I am running because I have the capacity to be governor and deliver quality leadership and I want you to see me as such. I have the experience, capacity and sagacity,” she said.

Ekwunife has many things working for her in the forthcoming governorship poll. Just as she has stated, she hails from the most favoured senatorial zone, and believes that the male folks have had enough time at the helm of affairs in the state, hence the need for a woman to try her hands on governance. But beyond this, Ekwunife’s party, PDP has adopted a liberal attitude to the zoning argument, insisting that for now, anyone who was interested in the position can vie. Above all, she has come to be known as a politician with a cult following in the state, and this can be seen in her victory in the 2019 general election, which saw her winning a seat in the Senate for a second time, despite contesting against known politicians.

If Anambra State is ready for a female governor is a matter that can be left to time, but most politicians in the state have insisted that the state remains among the most complex, and can not be tended by a woman. A political analyst, Mr Dozie Nchedo said, “don’t mind all the things you read on the social media. When the time comes, you will see that if the men abandon you, there is no way you can win election in Anambra State. For now, we are waiting for those who will emerge as flag bearers of various political parties, and if you see any woman among them, that is when you will know that they are serious. But that also will not mean that they can win the election.”

Meanwhile, Ekwunife who has an “everything is possible” mindset has never failed to remind that Anambra is the only state that has had a woman as its executive governor, in the person of Dame Virgy Etiaba, and she said this to remind all that her ascension to the position was also possible. Etiaba had in 2016 spent six months as the governor of Anambra State, rising from the position of deputy governor to replace her boss, Mr Peter Obi during an illegal impeachment served on him by members of the state House of Assembly. Anambra State will most likely hold her governorship election in November 2021, and already, over 30 persons have indicated interest in contesting for the position.

QUOTE

Senator Ekwunife who hails from Igboukwu, Aguata LGA, which falls in the Southern zone, but married to a man from Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area, which is in the central senatorial zone is the senator representing the zone. The grassroot politician who is also rooting to become the governor of the state has also declared that she is favourably disposed to the southern zone producing the next governor, but has also introduced a new angle to the zoning game, saying that the best form of zoning is not from one senatorial zone to the other, but should rather be from man to woman. At a recent meeting in her native Igboukwu community, during the unveiling of Odenigbo Art Gallery by an art enthusiast, Uchenna Nwosu, Ekwunife reechoed it again, that the best way to address the raging issue of zoning in the next Anambra governorship election is to zone the office from a man to a woman. Informing her people of her desire to occupy the Anambra Government House, Ekwunife said she was not only qualified by leadership, experience and capacity, but that zoning of the governorship seat by senatorial zone and gender favours her