By Dirisu Yakubu
Immediate past Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, Monday, counselled advocates of zoning to stop overheating the polity ahead of the 2023 general elections, noting that elective positions, particularly the Office of the President can only be negotiated through lobby of the various ethnic nationalities that make up the country.
This is even as the elder statesman urged pro zoning individuals and groups to realize that political parties are at liberty to adopt any position they believe will win them votes, given that the primary motive for the establishment of political parties, particularly in third world countries like Nigeria, is to gain political power.
Vanguard reports that recently, eminent Nigerians including leader of Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark and foremost Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo warned of the dangerous consequences of jettisoning zoning of the Presidential ticket by the All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2023 polls.
Responding to the communiqué signed by the Southern and Middle Belt Forum calling for the zoning of the exalted office to the South; Sani advised the elder statesmen to be guided by history in their public utterances.
He said: “When the socio-cultural groups in the Southern and the Middle Belt Forum repeatedly assert in their recent communiqué that any jettisoning of politics of identity symbolized by rotation of the Presidency between the North and the South-which they alleged is a tradition- would spell doom for the unity, harmony and stability of the country and feign ignorance of fact of history that in 2003,General Muhammadu Buhari from the North contested with President Olusegun Obasanjo from the South, and in 2011 and 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan from the South contested with Buhari from the North; one begins to wonder because if rotation of the Presidency between the North and the South is a tradition as alleged, situations where a Northerner would contest against a Southerner would not arise.
“When such groups who profess to be jaunty face of democratic values begin to rewrite history in furtherance of their preferences, it means such groups can redefine democracy premised on triple foundation of justice, liberty and common decency in furtherance of their preferences. I say this because if such groups regard themselves as embodiment of national ideals and moral values shared by most Nigerians, they are at liberty to cause their preferences of politics of identity to become national consensus which are binding on the political parties rather than rewriting history.
“In the absence of such national consensus, they should design their winning game plans and use it to canvass for the needed electoral mandate. After all, the constitution does not make it possible for any region’s vote alone to produce the President. This is because the President must not only get majority vote but meets the requirement of spread by getting at least 25 per cent of the votes in each of at least 25 states. The North has only 19 states and the South only 17 states, which means the two regions must necessarily come together to produce the President.”
The PDP has since thrown its Presidential ticket open in total negligence of calls to have it zoned to the South. Although, it appears the APC may go south; the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee of the party is yet to take a firm stand on the issue.