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Rotational presidency is nonsense – el-Rufai

Says Jonathan Can Contest 2011 Polls

By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—FORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasiru eL-Rufai yesterday dismissed as a non issue the clamour by some elements in the North for rotational presidency, saying that the call is unconstitutional and lacks merit.

Mallam el-Rufai who returned to Nigeria from self imposed exile declared that though President Goodluck Jonathan is from the South-South geopolitical zone; he is at liberty under the law to contest the 2011 general elections.

According to him, there is no provision in the 1999 constitution that specify when and how positions should be zoned on geopolitical basis. He said the president can contest the election to retain his plum office in the coming polls.
El-Rufai added his voice to the national debate being generated by the issue while fielding questions from State House Correspondents at the Aguda House, the official residence of President Jonathan.

El-Rufai was part of the delegation led by the Kaduna State governor, Namadi Sambo which came to pay condolence to Jonathan over the demise of former President Yar’Adua.

In his words, “I don’t believe in presidency by allocation. Everybody is free to contest any election anywhere”.
Speaking further on his expected role in the new government, he said only the president can determine that, and that even though he added that, “Am retired and tired”.

The Former Minister, who served in the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, also refuted insinuations that the presidency may have interfered in his investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to possibly evade prosecution, saying, “this president does not believe in that”.

The issue of zoning of the presidency has become a hot political discuss in the last few months following the illness and subsequent death of Yar’Adua, in which counter positions are being advanced by politicians.

While some insist that it is still the turn of the north to continue with the president till 2015, having conceded the position to the South between 1999 and 2007, many argue that the present administration is a continuation of the same regime, which was cut short by the death of the former president.

This group conceded that though rotational presidency is not in the constitutional and any person can contest, the principle of rotational elective positions is a purely party matter adopted by political parties for the convenience of winning votes.


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