Pan-Yoruba political group, Odua Grassroot Alliance for Stronger Nigeria, (OGANS), has asked the Peoples Democratic Party and indeed, all political parties to jettison the idea of zoning its presidential ticket, saying such calls are selfish and anachronistic to modern system of governance where the quest for excellence is the new normal and therefore, there should be open seats.
This was contained in a Statement issued by its president, Dr. Olawale Akanbi from their Ibadan national office.
According to the Yoruba group, in the last few weeks, the protagonists and antagonists of the political contraption called zoning have dominated the political landscape with several variegated points of argument, which at best have only exacerbated the ethnic divide across the land. The unfolding scenario is not good for national cohesion because it only confirms the ethnic chauvinist in the political class as they advance and canvass their various positions on the burning zoning topic.
Anyway that you look at it, whether from the northern Arewa standpoint or South-South or South East or the Oduduwa region, what is manifestly clear is that, it is the ethnic campaigners that are promoting the zoning hysteria once again as 2023 presidential election is around the corner.
If one cares to illuminate himself/herself on the presidential zoning controversy, the idea has neither been popular nor adhered to by the modern subscribers of the issue. It is only by taking a dip into history that one realizes the extent to which some ethnic politicians have consciously thought to promote and accept certain undemocratic, illogical and ill-disposed notions in power sharing.
For instance, in 2003 presidential election, the PDP canvassed an Obasanjo ticket but some PDP members from the north like late Abubakar Rimi still joined in the race and contested against him but Obasanjo defeated them to clinch the ticket. Also in 2011, when the party had zoned the presidency to the South-South and reserved the ticket for Goodluck Jonathan as a sitting president but that did not stop Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from contesting against him, claiming that no zoning of any sort was known to him.
These two examples clearly shows that zoning is not a notion appreciated by many politicians yet it’s a card conveniently wagered when things seem not to go their way on the basis of popular sovereignty which let voters to decide for themselves who to represent them.
The Yoruba politician, who is also a PDP chieftain said that, the Yorubas want open seats contest whereby the presidency is thrown open, as that is what he sees as the only panacea to end the zoning controversy. According to Dr. Akanbi, “we recommend that there should not be zoning in the party in order to end the controversy and give peace a chance.” Continuing he said, zoning is causing unimaginable confusion, turf battles and ethnic divisions that’s even extending to the religious frontiers which can further heat up the political temperature of the country unnecessarily.”
Dr. Akanbi said since there’s no constitutional position on zoning, the parties, especially the PDP and APC should jettison zoning and throw their presidential ticket open. According to him, “we are looking for the best material for the position of the president who can rally the whole nation together instead of a president produced under the weak premise of zoning and who undoubtedly will pander to ethnic ideals over national values,” reaffirming that a performing Nigerian presidency without religious or ethnic borders is one of our dream.