Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha is the Ebonyi State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress(APC). In this interview with the media in Abakaliki, the party chieftain reiterates the imperatives of zoning elective positions in the state ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Sir, can we meet you?
My name is Hon. Stanley Okoro Emegha. The All Progressives Congress (APC ) Chairman in Ebonyi State.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Ebonyi State All Progressives Congress, APC, constituted a zoning committee. Do you think this would engender internal party democracy?
You are all aware that the national body of APC zoned all positions and later micro zoned them to make sure that the interest of the 36 States of the Federation and FCT were accommodated during the March 26th, 2023 national convention in Abuja. The convention was adjuged as the most peaceful convention ever hEbonyitisory of Nigerian democracy. It was at the convention that the family members of APC entered into a house and came out with a decision considered to be the top-notch.
You should note also be surprised that such arrangement might be applied in Ebonyi state. We have leaders of the party who places high premium on the overall well-being of the indigenous people of the state and visitors alike. And we have resolved that positions and contest won’t bring disunity in our party. We had already warned that whatever thing anyone is asked to do in the interest of unity and for us to move ahead and still be in control of the state, such an individual must comply.
Like I always say as a party Chairman whatever position you occupy, you are not occupying it for yourself but you are holding on trust. You are occupying that position not because you are the most qualified but because of the unity of the party. Above all, God’s grace, made it happened. There is need to carry everyone along.
Do you have confidence in the zoning committee?
Yes of course, we have absolute confidence in the committee. The committee constitutes of credible people who are very qualified to handle its onerous task. The committee is yet to come up with its report. It will be unfair to start speaking on zoning in the state since they are yet to come up with their report. We believe very strongly that the committee will do the job assigned to it without bias. I know they will be firm to give the party the best because it’s outcome will determine our success in the forthcoming General elections.
Why is the All Progressives Congress so emphatic on this zoning arrangement?
I want to let you know that constitutionally, there is nothing like zoning. Everyone has the right to go and then contest for any position. However, If we tell you that a position is zoned to an area, we have our reasons which include giving the minority to voice and ensure even development in parts of the state. That is why we come up with this idea of zoning. There are certain areas that if the contest is thrown open, until decades come, they might not attain certain elective positions.
But with this arrangement, it can guarantee certain areas to become for instance governor of the state. So if we have this standard, people will know when it is their turn to contest for certain positions. But if you leave it open, there are certain clans that cannot do anything.
Take for example, Ikwo local government area has twenty wards which is the highest in the state and assuming that only councilors are to vote in an election, you can agree with me that Ikwo has the upper hand and will definitely win. Can you compare Afikpo South local government area that has eleven wards to Ikwo? The answer is capital No!
Zoning, obviously will help certain minority clans to also have the opportunity to produce certain persons in certain positions bearing in mind that democracy means equal and effective representation of the people.
Do you see zoning providing such effective representation in the state?
With an understanding as one united family, that can be achieved without hitches. Zoning will make the people to build on anage their weaknesses without any section of the society having a feeling of being neglected nor short-changed. Considering the integrity of the members of the committee who would not like to disappoint the party nor the entire state, zoning will produce credible and reliable candidates who will fly the party’s flag and win the general elections landslide.
That is the crux of the round table conference we are creating now. Purchase of forms have not commenced, but we know too very well that there is a guideline now.
Do you see your party winning the gubernatorial election considering the multiplicity of those who are declaring for the plum job?
It is by reaching out that we can win election and the APC is reaching out very well. I have said it earlier that those aspiring for governorship can be more than twenty. It was also like that during the just concluded national convention. There were too many people that came out to contest for the national Chairman of the party. But through understanding, on that election day, a lot stepped down. And finally, it was narrowed down to our new brand Chairman. That is how it is going to be here too many people are going to come out. It is an open contest game but I assure you that at the tail end of it, we don’t want people to come and spend our family money for nothing. We will at the end, narrow it down to one person. That they are all coming out is because we have more than enough qualified people that will handle the affairs of the state.
Since there is nobody that it has been narrowed down to, you never can tell if it will be me or you. So, we are discussing and all of us are moving towards the same direction of building our party. The direction that makes sure that unity reigns supreme. The important thing is to build the party and continue to develop Ebonyi State to make the people proud of their origin and identity.
The issue of zoning positions has been a worrisome one in the state since there is no acceptable document to that effect. Do you see this solving the future zoning palaver in the state?
We are coming out with a blueprint that will not only be for the Governorship position but for others. We are coming up with a party blueprint which will spell out alot of things. We are creating our own agenda.
We do not want a situation where someone will come with his own agenda. What we want is party agenda on how we will move the state from a point to point. We have seen what the governor has done in this his six years plus in office. We wouldn’t want the thing to go down.
We want somebody who will sustain it and move forward, that is where we are driving to. So, no one should take ownership of any position yet. If you are flying our flag, it is not your project alone. It is our collective project. It is our blueprint that you are driving. It is what will make people to know that APC is the party that is in charge. And they mean well for the entire state.
It is not like what you are seeing in PDP where they are dragging and killing themselves. When we enter into the house, we have leaders that will talk to us. What we have is a collective project and not an individual project.
Recently, there is a news making the round that traditional rulers in Izzi land endorsed a candidate. Do you think it will not cause rancor in the party?
They only expressed their opinion. You know that traditional rulers are “supporticians” and not politicians. It was not the ideas of all the traditional rulers in Ebonyi State anyway. It is an idea of the traditional rulers from a particular clan. They don’t want to keep hiding their feelings on how they feel about it. It was not wrong for them to say how they feel. There is nothing wrong about that because they are not partisan politicians. They won’t contribute on the voting process on the primary election day, but they have expressed their feelings. They have made their opinion known to their subjects. The party will still make her interest known. If the party deems it fit and consider that he should fly our flag, the important thing is that he is flying our flag and not his flag and all of us will wear that tag and make sure that Ebonyi is better