Zoning: South-East Candidates Lament Injustice At APC Presidential Primaries


Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Clinches Ticket With 1,271 Votes

The National Convention of the All Progressives Congress has come to an end in Abuja but the cry of injustice from presidential aspirants from the South-East is still ringing.

The high point of the event was the presidential primary election which produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election. Tinubu who is from Lagos state in the South-West clinched the position with 1,271 of the 2,322 votes cast.

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba

Most of the aspirants from the South-East said the party ought to have specifically zoned its presidential ticket to the South East which is the only geopolitical zone in Southern Nigeria that has not tasted the presidency.

They said, by denying the South-East the ticket, the APC deliberately lost the opportunity to address that injustice, adding that it was against the understanding reached before the Convention.

They spoke before commencement of voting. When the voting ended early on Tuesday morning, however, all five candidates from the South-East polled a total of just 40 votes from a possible 288 votes from the zone. Analysts say the zone, indeed, does not indicate a strong desire to be reckoned with politically.

The votes tally for South-East aspirants is as follows:

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba – one vote
David Umahi – 38 votes
Rochas Okorocha – zero vote
Ogbonnaya Onu – one vote
Ikeobasi Mokelu – zero vote

Mrs Uju Ohanenye withdrew for Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Two of the aspirants from the zone, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and Ken Nnamani, who claimed the party did not keep to its promise on zoning the position to the South East, withdrew from the contest.

Ken Nnamani

While Nwajiuba did not bother to attend the convention that held at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nnamani who had issued a withdrawal statement the previous day, said the party’s decision not to micro-zone the position to the South East had robbed the exercise of fairness.

A third aspirant, immediate past Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, in his speech at the convention lamented that the party was grossly unfair to the zone.

He recalled a similar situation in the 1999 when the South-West needed to be pacified over the unfair annulment of the June 12, 1993 election. “I had won the APP presidential primaries and I was the party’s presidential candidate, but I had to relinquish it in the interest of justice for the South-West,” he said.

The APP flag for the 1999 presidential contest was offered to Chief Olu Falae who eventually lost the election to Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democracy Party.

David Umahi

Onu said now that the South East finds itself in a similar position, its cries are ignored. “Where is the justice, where is the justice?” he cried repeatedly.

While Ebonyi State Governor David Nweze Umahi also spoke in the same line, the two other aspirants from the zone, Mrs Uju Ohanenye and Ikeobasi Mokelu who also addressed the Convention, did not make any reference to the expectation of the South East geopolitical zone on the issue.

Facts have also emerged on why the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, boycotted the special convention for the election of the presidential candidate.

According to his brother, Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba, a former University Vice Chancellor, the Minister stayed away from the convention when it dawned on him that the earlier consensus arrangement as a method of electing the flag bearer of the party had collapsed.

In a statement issued early Tuesday, the brother said that the understanding from the highest levels prior to the Minister’s involvement, and considering his role in the founding of the APC, was that of consensus as was with the National Chairmanship a few months ago.

Uju Ohanenye

Emeka Nwajiuba was also the first minister to resign before President Muhammadu Buhari asked all the others to resign. He was one of the 28 people to buy the presidential nomination form at N100 million and he was also one of the 24 aspirants that returned the completed nomination forms.

He chose to be absent at the venue of the primary election because of the turn of events and the fact that he did not want to be part of “the Dollar and Naira bazaar.”

When he was called upon to come and make a speech, he was not at the venue. He was the only one of the 23 aspirants that failed to show up for the exercise.

The statement by Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba reads:

“Many friends are calling to find out why my brother, Dr. Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba did not come out to address the APC convention.

“Simple: The understanding from the highest levels prior to his involvement, and considering his role in the founding of the APC, was that of consensus as was with the National Chairmanship a few months ago.

“With that understanding, the Presidential ticket was to come to the South, and the southeast.

ORJI Kalu, campaigned for Ahmed Lawan

“This has been the hope till the end of the negotiations. He, not wanting to be part of the Dollar and Naira bazaar, is convinced that what Nigeria needs now is no more of the same thing that has kept Nigeria at the low level it has been.

“Our challenges as a country cannot be addressed at the same energy level by which they were created

“God order our footsteps towards a better life for all Nigerians.

God bless you.

“Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba,

“Umuezeala-Nsu,  Imo state,
South-East, Nigeria”.


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