YOU CAN’T IGNORE ZONING PACT – Former speaker tells Orlu politicians

By Chukwudi Ikpe
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, a former speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Nnaemeka Maduagwu, has called on Orlu zone to respect the zoning agreement which was reached by the state political stakeholders in 1998.
Barr. Maduagwu made his stand on the burning issue known in an exclusive interview with our reporter.
According to him, even though there is no form of zoning in our electoral law, there was an agreement in 1998 which, he said, he was part of.
The former speaker explained that before 1998, Orlu zone was seen as lagging behind in everything in Imo State including appointments in the civil service and they were pleading and making a case about the situation.
Because of this, the political stakeholders decided to give them a chance, Maduagwu said.
“The two major political parties then, PDP and ANPP picked their governorship candidates in   Imo from Orlu zone and that was how former Gov. Achike Udenwa emerged, “he explained further.
Hon. Maduagwu, who represented Owerri North in the state House of Assembly, maintained that it will be extremely unfair to deny Owerri zone the chance of producing the next governor of Imo State after 20 years since the other two zones have had a share of the governorship seat.
“It is extremely unfair.  The other two zones have been there while Owerri zone has not. It is 20 years now and Orlu zone alone has taken 16 years. It is unfair Owerri zone should be given the chance to produce the next governor.”
He went further: “Orlu zone has forgotten that they were begging”.
X-raying the governorship race in Imo State so far, the former lawmaker pointed out that Senator Hope Uzodinma and Hon. Uche Nwosu are the prominent contestants from Orlu zone, stressing that Orlu zone has other qualified candidates who are not showing interest because of the zoning agreement.
He, therefore, called on Senator Hope Uzodinma who is representing Orlu zone in the senate and Uche Nwosu, Imo Government House Chief of Staff and son-in-law to Gov. Rochas Okorocha to respect the zoning agreement.
The Egbu, Owerri North-born lawyer accused gov. Rochas Okorocha of betrayal, saying that he promised to do only one tenure but did not keep to what he said in 2011. He also warned Gov. Rochas Okorocha against supporting his son-in-law with the resources o f the state.
Reacting to recent speculations that Uche Nwosu would go to court to claim the APC governorship ticket which he was given in 2015 but was taken away by Okorocha, the former speaker described it as most illiterate and most uniformed.
According to him, there is no way a ticket of 2015 can surface in 2019. “Even if somebody was elected in 2015, you cannot postpone it to 2019,” he explained further.
To buttress his point, he used a legal word, acquiesce which, he said, means to accept, adding that the electoral law provides that anybody who neither is not satisfied should challenge it immediately.
The former speaker said that since Uche Nwosu participated in the present government, it means that he accepted whatever happened in 2015 and cannot challenge it after three years.
“It can never happen; infact the lawyer who will handle the case for him stands the risk of losing his license,” he added.
He further explained that in the Electoral Act which is the law that covers electoral matters there is time limit for anyone who is aggrieved to challenge the issue and the case is against INEC.
In 2015, Uche Nwosu was handed the governorship ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo State before Gov. Rochas Okorocha, after losing out in the presidential primaries to Buhari, dramatically took the ticket, contested and won.
Three years later, ahead of the 2019 general elections, some media reports claim that the Imo government house chief of staff plans to go to court to demand the APC governorship ticket which was taken from him three years ago.