BY: Nick Nwaneri
Former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, (SAN), has said that the Zoning strategy adopted by leaders of All Progressives’ Congress (APC) is not convincing and might not win elections if not immediately adjusted.
He stated this in an exclusive interview with our Correspondent in Calabar.
Ndoma-Egba said “I have gone through the purported automatic zoning list, I don’t see anything strategic. I have gone through the two lists. There is nothing strategic about them. It doesn’t portray any election winning strategy. Its rather the simple approach of moving offices from one zone to the other”.
According to him, “let me give an example. The position of National Secretary is very strategic. You say you are taking it to the South West. The South West is already VERY STRONG to deliver for APC. It is perhaps the strongest zone for APC perhaps, in addition to the North. The North and the South West are the strongest parts with supports for the APC. So looking at the South West where the National Secretary is being purportedly zoned to, you already have a Vice President from the zone. You have the Speaker of the House of Reps; you have five governors, and then you have the “Jeganban” himself who is more than a zone. So the South West is already saturated with strength that can deliver for the APC. So that strategic position adds nothing to them. It is like pouring a cup of water into a river. Now you have other zones that is wobbling and you need to secure either a majority win or a percentage win”.
He further noted that “for instance, the South East, has two governors, in Ebonyii and Imo states. Ebonyi governor is second term governor that is outgoing. Imo state is a first term governor and has an incumbency advantage as we go into the 2023 elections. So in the South East you can say the party has a toe-hold, not yet a foot hold, just a toe-hold.”
He said, “then you come to the South-South, the only state with any toe-hold in the South-South for the APC is Cross River State. But we recently had the Akpabuyo State Constituency re-election and the Ogoja –Yala Federal constituency re- elections, the figures put together showed a very narrow margin of the winning, APC had. So it means if we must retain Cross River State, you need to reinforce and strengthen the state with a strategic position.”
Ndoma-Egba observed “ordinarily if you ask me of the strategic objectives with the position of a secretary, I would advice it be given to the South East or the South South. But like I said, the South East has a first term governor who has the incumbency advantage going into the 2023 elections which he would be re-elected. The South South doesn’t have such advantage. The only APC governor is going final term; so give it to the South-South and strengthen the zone strategically. Use it to reinforce the South-South”.
In answer to question, he said, “I have seen different lists, one saying that the National Secretary was zoned to South-South /South East in another list it showed that it was zoned to the South West.”
However, he added, “the list purported to have it zoned to the South West is the latest in town. So that appears to be the one that every body assumes is the authentic list.
“Therefore, methinks that in doing zoning, you must have strategic objectives in mind. You must have objectives of what you want to achieve. It should not just be the simplistic approach or manner of moving offices from one zone to another zone. That is a very simplistic manner and approach to the matter”.
“You should be more strategic by considering how you can use offices that are very strategic to strengthen zones that are weak. Because at the end of the day, whoever the candidate is, will require to win in those other weak zones or get at least one quarter of the votes cast in each of those states, he pointed out”.
Furthermore, “So if you don’t have that strategic objectives you may just get lost by thinking that you simply move office from one zone to another because it was in that zone”.
Said he, “so as far as I am concerned, giving it to the South West is like pouring a glass of water into the ocean. It’s a total waste. So in my view, the zoning arrangement is not strategic enough. It seems to have been a simple mechanical application of moving offices from one zone to another. That is just a clerical activity”.
On the seeming crisis at the National level, said, “i acknowledge that it exist but it’s a seasonal thing. After the Convention it will all pass away. Politicians have answers to every crisis. They generate the crisis and resolve the crisis themselves. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be resolved and we will have successful convention on the 26th of March”.
He recalled that he was Secretary of the 2018 Convention of the party, and from what he saw, there is everything needed to hold the Convention on the 26th of March adding, “I just hope that the NEC meeting of the party that will be holding in few days so i will be able to think more deeply about the need for strategic zoning”
“In all, he said, “i believe the Convention will hold successfully despite the disagreements and the counter agitations. So no cause for alarm for the mass of the members of the party”.
Ndoma-Egba noted, “i remembered in 2018 as Secretary of the Convention , the story all over was that the APC was going to implode, even when I had media interview session and I stated that we will have a very peaceful Convention many found it funny but true to it as I said, we had a very peaceful Convention in 2018”
“I bel;ieve, it is the same thing that will happen. The moment we get passed the convention which is the biggest crisis we have, we would have reached cruising altitude on like the PDP who crisis just starting. We are hearing the sparks among themselves. It has degenerated into the use of on becoming languages for people that hold high offices.and getting personal. Its no longer about issues, its about persons, so yes, the APC has its problems but I think the PDP has bigger problems, waiting for it as well, he added”.