From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha
Undoubtedly, Anambra State was admitted and made the 10th oil-producing state in Nigeria by President Goodluck Jonathan during his visit when he commissioned many companies built by private investors in various parts of the state, especially in and around the commercial city of Onitsha.
It was indeed one of the best things ever to happen in the economic turn-around of the state blessed with abundant human and natural resources. However, the discovery of oil has opened a new political dimension and changed the political rhythm of the state.
Anambra’s admission into the league of oil-producing states was celebrated across the length and breadth of the state and it ushered in a new political dispensation fix for Anambra North Senatorial Zone, the host zone, which had been crying foul over political marginalisation.
Recently, some youths, comprising various youth bodies met in Awka, Anambra state capital, where the issue of the forth coming governorship election in the state, the discovery of oil in the Northern zone of the state and why power should shift to the zone that is currently topping the chart in economic viability were discussed. For the youth organisations, comprising of Anambra Youth Assembly, Integrated Volunteer Youth Movement, Concerned Youths for Better Anambra and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Youths, nothing could be fairer than having the next governor, coming from Anambra North.
However, while those leading this quest are insisting that the next governor must come from Anambra North, saying it was made clear in the statement issued by the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, on many occasions during political rallies, some political watchers still insist that it will not work since it was not passed into law.
According to Mr. Nwokoye, the youths of Anambra State firmly believe in the reality and absolute equality of the three senatorial zones and strongly hold the view that the topmost executive office in the state, which has eluded Anambra North since the creation of the state 21 years ago should now go to them in turn of unbroken succession as a mater of priority, before any other zone can claim the right to second or even third turn.
In line with this position taken after wide consultations over several months in the state in which all the youths participated both at home and abroad, the youths confidently urged other sections of Anambra people to support en-mass a credible new generation governorship candidates that have emerged from Anambra North.
The alleged marginalisation of Anambra North Today, there is a general feeling within Anambra North that as a people, they are being deliberately sidelined, particularly in the sphere of political leadership of the state. The argument is that no one from Anambra North has so far been deemed suitable to be put at the helm of affairs in the state.
For instance, Onitsha community, which produced a number of national and international figures like the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ukpabi Asika, Prof. Chike Obi, Dr. Philip Emeagwali and others, are insisting that they are more qualified to produce the next governor of the state if at all the zoning as being preached by Governor Peter Obi will see the light of the day.
Apart from the contributions of Onitsha Ado na Idu in the country’s socio-political and economic survival, the community has remained the major source of revenue that sustained the old Anambra state which comprised of the present Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states. There is no gainsaying that the community is and still remains the commercial hub of the entire South East zone.
Severally, Onitsha youths under various organizations have openly demanded for compensations from residents, traders as well as the governments for taking their land and turning same into commercial areas. The main market in the commercial city of Onitsha is occupying a very vast land of the Onitsha people, making it impossible for the indigenes to have enough land to build or celebrate burial or wedding ceremonies which had resulted to the blocking of major roads in and within the city during such festivities.
The declaration of interest of some of the Onitsha sons like Dr. Alex Obiogbolu and Dr. Nwachi Pat Obianwu to run for the office of the governor of the state could simply be identified as strategic plots by the people of the community to get the position during the coming governorship election. Dr. Alex Obiogbolu an academic and a grassroots politician is not new in the politics of the state.
The leader and founder of Oganiru Anambra is a man of many parts and a man many described as a different political bulldozer who preaches politics of intellectualism as well as politics anchored on principle. Another group found in Anambra North are the Ogbaru people. They parade the likes of Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Minister for Aviation, Mrs. Stella Odua, Afam Ogene, member representing Ogbaru federal constituency among others.
Recent political events since the inception of Governor Peter Obi’s administration in 2006 have opened a new political fortunes for the people of the council area. The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Chinwe Nwebili and the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Mr. Oseloka Obaze are all from the zone. Like Onitsha, the people of the council have anointed Afam Ogene as their candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The leader of Ogbaru Stakeholders’ Forum, Sir Okala, has this to says. “We decided to ask Afam Ogene, member representing Ogbaru federal constituency to present himself to seek the office of the governor of Anambra state in 2014 because of his numerous contributions towards development of our country through quality representation and making of beneficial laws for the country. From what we have closely observed about his total commitment to the entire country, we urge him to come out and lead our people to the promised land.”
Anambra East and West council areas These council areas are often referred to as the hub of Omambala region, comprising the Aguleri, Umeri, Anam, Umeze-Anam, Otuocha and parts of Nsugbe. They are also regarded as the food basket of the state, because of the arable nature of their land and vast land in the areas.
The local government areas are also blessed with rich human and natural resources of which the recent discovery of oil topped the chart.
The oil which was discovered in almost all parts of the local government areas like Anam, Umueze-Anam and part of Umueri and Aguleri had no doubt boosted the economic status of the two local government areas and has also put them on a better pedestal to vigorously seek for the office of the governor come 2014. Anambra East and Anambra West local government areas parade the likes of the former Deputy Governor to Governor Chinweoke Mbadinuju, Mr. Chinedu Emeka from the Anambra West while Prince Chinedu Idigo, a member of the House of Representatives from Anambra East are currently in the governorship race.
The Chairman of Anambra Youth Assembly, Mr.Chu Okafor, disclosed that after waiting for the state governor to anoint a candidate from the Anambra North senatorial zone to no avail, they decided to nominate the two persons from the zone as their aspirants from which a candidate will be elected to represent the interest of the zone. Anyamelum/Oyi council areas These two local government areas in Anambra North Senatorial Zone are also referred to as Olu and Igboadagbe communities. They have a peculiar culture and tradition, which distinguish them from the rest of the council areas across the zone.