Says parties only can determine zone where next President will come from

By Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA- Following the clamour for a return of the Presidency to a particular geo-political zone in 2023, a foremost social-cultural cum political association in the north, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has said zoning remains a non constitutional issue but the idea of political parties.

The forum also noted that political parties could settle for a part of the country for the plum office, contrary to the agitation of some Nigerians who believe that the Presidency must rotate at every election cycle between the south and the north.

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In an exclusive chat with our correspondent on Tuesday, Secretary General of the Forum, Anthony Sani urged Nigerians to remember that zoning as provided for in the nation’s political lexicon, has been observed more in breach since the idea came on board about two decades ago.

He said, “Where the next President will come from in 2023 is an exclusive preserve of political parties. Nigerians should recall that the politics of zoning is not a provision in the constitution but a party affair which has been observed more in the breach.

“I am aware of a fact of history that because of the annulment of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola’s victory in 1993, the nation was morally blackmailed to allow the Yoruba to produce the President after the military regime. That accounted for why both Chiefs Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae were fielded by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Peoples Party, APP (now defunct), respectively in 1999 from the South West.”

Taking a trip down memory lane, the ACF scribe noted that zoning has since been abused, stressing that in recent times, events have happened to prove him right.

He continued: “President Obasanjo wanted zoning to be sustained when he brought Umaru Yar’ Adua to succeed him. Unfortunately, President Yar’Adua died and Goodluck Jonathan had to step into his shoes in 2010 in order to complete the term as provided by the constitution.

“And when President Jonathan served out the term for the combined ticket with President Yar’ Adua in 2011, the spirit of zoning expected a northerner to emerge, but the same former President Obasanjo asked President Jonathan not to pander to the zoning as matter of constitutional right. Hence Jonathan contested with General Muhammadu Buhari who had earlier contested with President Obasanjo in 2003.

“President Jonathan also contested with Buhari in 2015. If he had prevailed in 2015, the South would have prevailed for over 16 years in the nascent democracy. And in the last elections, there were more Presidential candidates from the South than from the North, all of which showed that politics of zoning is a party affair because there is no national consensus of zoning that is binding on political parties.”

He advised those flying the kite to allow political parties time to make their decision, noting that anything short of this will not augur well for the polity.

“The political parties usually include where their candidates come from in their winning game plans and until there is a national consensus on zoning that is legally binding on the political parties, it would be very difficult for any group outside the political parties to determine where the President would come from,” he added

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