…Warns Atiku against scuttling the zoning of presidency to South
By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Friday, called on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to emulate the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, by zoning the PDP, presidential ticket to the Southern part of Nigeria.
The President of Ohanaeze, Professor George Obiozor, made this call in a statement to newsmen in Owerri while reacting to the APC, which zoned its presidential ticket to the Southern part of the country.
Obiozor said it would encourage fairness, justice and unity of the country.
According to Ohanaeze, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide hails the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) for zoning their presidential ticket to the South of Nigeria. The APC has, by their zoning pattern shown the way for others to follow.
“It is Important to recapitulate that the concept of zoning of political offices was first introduced in the Second Republic by the National Party of Nigeria, NPN as a way of managing the diverse inter-ethnic tensions.
“Also, during a National Constitutional Conference, following the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, a number of prominent leaders such as Dr Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Bola Ige, Alh Abubakar Rimi, etc advocated rotating the presidency between the North and the South and specifically among the six geopolitical zones (north-central, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-south, and south-west).
‘The zoning principle attained a healthy climax with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) led government, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. During the Obasanjo democratic era, zoning of political party offices was also displayed publicly to the admiration of all the participants.
“The zoning principle also applied to the ministries of the federal government, such that some ministries, categorized as Grade A, B, C, etc were resolved across the six geo-political zones of the country to ensure balance, equity and national loyalty; and even down to the federal boards and parastatals.
“The zoning system was so promoted that it was incorporated into the constitution of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. The APC, in order to beat the PDP in their own game, in 2014 zoned their presidential candidate to the North and the Vice Presidential candidate to the South and that was the APC trump card for the 2015 general election.
“Thus, APC has by the above decision won the heart of the Southern Governors Forum comprising governors from PDP, APC, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Afenifere, Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and indeed all Nigerian compatriots.
“It is hoped that the PDP will emulate the APC by zoning its presidential ticket to the South. It is worth reiterating that the bane of Nigerian politics is rooted, among others, in lack of principles.”
Also, Ohanaeze warned the Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubarkar, not to scuttle any move by the PDP, to zone the presidential ticket to the Southern part of the country.
The apex Igbo group was not happy that “The most unconscionable dramatization of lack of principles in politics can be located in the remarks by the former Vice President and one of the exponents of zoning formula in the past, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and indeed all the presidential aspirants from the North.
“The former Vice President under the PDP government has tried unsuccessfully to explain his claims that there is no zoning in the Nigerian constitution.
“He however failed to explain the implications of the quota system, elements and spirit of federal character and more importantly, that his emergence as vice president was anchored on zoning principle. Beyond the Atiku double-speak is that the people of South East has sacrificed a lot for the PDP, starting from Dr Alex Ekwueme to the last presidential election of the political war-horse, Alh. Atiku Abubakar.
“The PDP is reminded that a masquerade that turns against its minders in a stab of arrogance and delusion risks the humiliation of being deserted at the market square.”