Politics

Uchenna Okafor to Retain Anambra Speakership, Gets Support to Return to House

Politics

As political parties prepare for their primaries to nominate candidates for the 2023 general elections, traditional rulers and leaders of thought in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra State have thrown their weight behind the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Uchenna Okafor to return to the state legislature.

Okafor is aspiring to return to the house on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

At a meeting in Awka, they argued that returning Okafor to the house would ensure that he retains the office of the speaker since he is from Anambra North senatorial zone.

According to them, since the governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo is from Anambra South, his deputy, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim from Anambra Central, the speaker should naturally come from Anambra North, adding that since Okafor is a ranking lawmaker, he stood a very bright chance of retaining the speakership.

Besides, they noted that the other two zones in the local government were already holding other political offices, including Commissioner and local government chairman.

Former Secretary to the Anambra State Government, SSG, Chief Paul Odenigbo, while speaking on the decision to retain Okafor as their lawmaker said it might not favour the area to send a greenhorn as their representative in the House of Assembly.

Odenigbo said: “Ayamelum has three zones. We divided our communities into North, Central and South. The speaker is from Ayamelum North and we have a way of agreeing when it comes to elective political positions.

“In 2018, we met and zoned our elective positions in the local government. Ayamelum North was occupying the position in the House of Assembly; Omor, which is very large, has been holding the position of local government area chairman, while south has consistently held the position of Commissioner, Special Adviser and others.

“In the previous election, there were four aspirants for the House of Assembly from the different zones and all of them rejected the zoning formula by arguing that the zoning arrangement was by APGA and not by other parties.

“All of them contested in other political parties and luckily for Okafor he won. After the election, we met again to take a decision on the zoning. The meeting involved leaders of thought and traditional rulers in Ayamelum, but we could not reach a consensus and therefore decided that the status quo should remain.

“We later decided that the issue should be visited after the 2023 election.

“This decision was documented and signed by leaders of thought and traditional rulers. The unfortunate thing is that some people believe it must be their turn, but that is not how things are done. That is why we are supporting Okafor.

“Besides, the benefit of retaining Uche Okafor in the House is that he will be a ranking member and is likely to retain the speakership since the Governor is from Anambra South and the deputy governor from Anambra Central.

“If we put a new person there, he will use the four years to learn the art of lawmaking, which will not be good for us”.

Chairman of Ayamelum Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Benjamin Okechi, who also spoke on the issue said since the zoning had not been strictly respected in the past, all those holding political offices should continue in such positions in the 2023 election.

“Our stand is that Uche Okafor should go so that he should retain the office of the speaker. The speaker is for the North where Okafor is from.

“He has got the experience as a lawmaker and we want him to support Governor Chukwuma Soludo. We advise other people to allow Okafor to continue,” the royal father said.

Ifeizu

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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