Abia 2023: Isuikwuato’s 16 years absence at the Federal House and it’s misplaced governorship pursuit
By Udochukwu Nonso
It is an undeniable fact that zoning is not expressly stated in either the 1999 constitution or the current electoral Act, but it was a convenient expedient method adopted by major political parties in 1999 to entrench equity, justice, protection of the minority regions and a sense of political belonging in the representation process.The politics of zoning has dominated the nationwide political discourse as the nation moves closer to the 2023 general elections.
As expected various consistencies and regions with valid cases of marginalisation have launched the clamour for the zoning of major political offices to its region from the Presidential, to the Governorship , Senatorial , House of Representatives down to the local government levels.
However, in Abia state the above may be not the exact case in Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal constituency as the clamour for equity, fairness and justice appears to be taking misplaced prioritised direction.
Located in the Abia North Senatorial zone of Abia State, Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency is made of two local governments which are; Isuikwuato and Umunneochi respectively both which makes up the five local governments in the Senatorial district.
As conversations on zoning continue to increase a thought provoking question is “why Isuikwuato despite being the eye of both local government areas has remained deprived for 16 years from Representing the Federal constituency as the Federal House of Representatives??”
Despite being more densely populated and blessed with eminent personalities drawn from various political, social and business fields, Isuikwuato has for the last 16 years been relegated to the spectator seat, while Umunneochi continues to occupy the Federal House seat for 16 years by the same person who according to reports is angling to re-contest in 2023. If it comes to pass it will make it a total of 20 years of blatant marginalisation of Isuikwuato from the political surface.
The continuous 16 year extinction of Isuikwuato from the green Chambers at the National Assembly and the despotic incumbency of the same person could be ascribed to a number of factors amongst which is the selfish interest of political stakeholders in the two major political parties in the State to field the same candidate in primary elections.
However, it is more disheartening that the same set of political stakeholders from Isuikwuato appear to be ‘placing the cart before the horse’ through their demand for the 2023 Governorship slot to be zoned to its region, rather than agitate for zoning of 2023 House of Representatives in order to break the sixteen years jinx.
An undisputed reality is that no political agenda can be achieved by abandoning the grassroots. Political stakeholders in Isuikwuato must face the reality by first of all embarking on the aggressive agenda to capture the Federal House seat rather than embarking on a wild goose Governorship chase. Equity should take off from the grassroots structure which is the constituency seat, it’s absurd and inimical to talk about the Governorship seat when you have not been able to secure the position right under your very nose.
Just recently the Isuikwuato District Welfare Association (IDWA), resurrected their agitation to produce the next Governor of Abia state, citing the basis of the Abia Charter of Equity, a creation of the founding fathers, which was formulated without backing of the law, which stipulates the rotation of the governorship and other principal offices among the component zones of the state.
Chairman of IDWA , Senator Emma Nwaka in his address stated further that Isuikwuato District contends that when power returns to Abia North in 2023, the position should be theirs on the premise that Orji Uzor Kalu, who held the position for Abia North zone, hails from Old Bende bloc, emphasising that Isuikwuato is not part of the old Bende bloc.
As good as the Governorship claim might sound, it must be emphasized that if Isuikwuato political leaders are truly interested in the Political emancipation of Isuikwuato they should be courageous and truthful enough to address the glaring inequity in their local government. The Isuikwuato/Umuneochi constituency seat is jointly owned and not the property of one particular local government or person. It is morally and ideologically right that the issue of equity must first be raised at the Federal constituency level before pursuit of the governorship.
The major Political parties in Abia state should be magnanimous enough to put an end to this gross sixteen years disenfranchisement of Isuikwuato, by ceding their 2023 House of Representatives ticket to Isuikwuato. This will no doubt engender check and balancing which would also make both constituents feel loved and secured.
All well meaning stakeholders from both Isuikwuato and Umunneochi in the interest of fairness must advocate for Isuikwuato to benefit from the zoning and rotation principle or policy as part of a democratic culture used for achieving fairness, peace and equitable distribution of resources. Asides, the basis of zoning, the good people of Isuikwuato have been deprived of their due democratic dividend from the Federal House Parliament, in terms of empowerment, Infrastructure and other impacts. Any attempt to extend the dominance of one local government to 20 years in next year’s 2023 House of Representatives election will definitely have a negative impact on both local government areas.
Political leaders must rise up to the occasion and resist any form of inducement by putting aside all personal, political, religious and tribal sentiment then insist on Political Equity for Isuikwuato, after all Isuikwuato boasts of reputable political heavy weights who can efficiently give a good account of themselves in any contest.
Udochukwu Nonso writes from Umuahia