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PDP blasts el-Rufai over rotational presidency

…says he is ignorant

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA—The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday replied former Federal Capital Territory, FCT Minister, Malam Nasir el-Rufai for criticising the party’s decision to zone the 2011 Presidency to the North.

Rufai had described the PDP’s provision for rotational presidency in its constitution as akin to ‘insanity’.

But the PDP yesterday said Rufai’s comment was not only borne out of ignorance but that he was suffering from a common ailment of “talking before thinking.”

The National Legal Adviser to the ruling PDP, Chief Olusola Oke who spoke with Vanguard yesterday explained why PDP made provision for rotational presidency in its constitution and argued that contrary to the popular view, he said the provision was not in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on qualification for Presidency.

Said he: “In conflict, what is not prohibited is permitted. The 1999 constitution never prohibited rotation.

“It only says every Nigerian has the right to aspire and we have not said every Nigerian does not have the right. All we said is that it is turn by turn. We think it will bring orderliness. We think it will bring fairness.

“You will recall that the South West people have been agitating for participation in governance of this country at the highest level for decades. It was not possible.

“But now, we have orderliness in the system when every Nigerian knows that it is his turn to produce president of the country.

“And you cannot convince me that for every region or zone, you cannot get somebody who can be a good president. So I don’t see it as violating the provisions of the constitution. “Rather, the provision in our constitution brings orderliness, fairness, equity and justice into our system,” he added.

But El-rufai had said the provision was akin to insanity. Quoting renowned Physicist, Albert Eistein, who said ”it amounts to insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect different result”, el-Rufai told a national daily (Not Vanguard)  that zoning had failed the country in the past and that there was no reason why it should be foisted on Nigerians again.

He said if the arrangement had not given Nigeria the best leadership and yet we still want to continue with it, “the logical conclusion is that we do not desire the best leadership and are satisfied with mediocrity.”

He had added: “My opinion is that popularity with the electorate in a free and fair election should be the sole basis for winning elective positions and merit should likewise be the sole basis for appointive positions.”


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