The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have developed a sudden fear of zoning (PDP). Nonetheless, the sides must decide if the presidency should stay rotational or zoning should be abandoned.
As Nigerians look forward to 2023, zoning is a hot topic. The explanation is not implausible. In a nation separated by race, faith, and official nepotism, the number one seat, which is normally a source of controversy, is never a unifying force.
It's also that the presidency is used as a racial instrument by the leadership for negotiating for more electoral opportunities and promoting sectional interests.
In other words, the tribe that produces the president hopes to gain a competitive advantage over other tribes by having the number one person.
There are far too few exceptions. However, the pattern has continued since Nigerian presidents seem to lack a national perspective.
The fact has fueled extreme political unrest and a fierce race for the presidency, not only among individuals and political parties, but also among disparate and antagonistic tribes and ethnic groups.
Dominance, marginalization, isolation, and suppression of other tribes by the ‘reigning ethnic community' at a given time are common grievances.
The notion of merit takes a back seat in the prevalent political tension unleashed by the intense conflict. However, this claim may be arbitrary. In both the north and south of the country, there are capable Nigerians who can steer the country's affairs.
The battle for zoning exemplifies a rivalry that transcends political parties. Not only ethnic organizations acting as mouthpieces, but a few privileged principals and principalities whose power could overshadow democratic parties are typically those that direct the fight on behalf of the opposing races.
Because of the ongoing identification, integration, and infiltration crises, there is no tribe that will not complain if its kin do not hold sway in the levers of power, particularly in Aso Villa, Abuja. The antidote is the arrival of a populist president who views the whole country as his electorate and is committed to promoting equality, democracy, and justice for all ethnic groups.
The two major parties should make finding those unusual candidates a top priority.
Zoning is unavoidable and unavoidable, despite the fact that it is not a statutory problem. The national caucuses of political parties also follow zoning without making it official in order to provide a sense of belonging to the various ethnic groups that act as the country's foundations.
Democratic parties, on the other hand, have a way of de-emphasizing racial groups by attempting to base decisions on rotation or zoning on the North-South divide. The tribes—Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo—appear to be more vocal in their claim for the slot than the "North" and "South," or any of the six geopolitical zones.
That is why the PDP erupted in rage when the Bala Mohammed Panel Report proposed that the party's presidential ticket be available to all six zones. Ethnic activists from umbrella socio-political and cultural organizations based in Yorubaland and Igboland responded quickly, not from party-based politicians from geo-political regions per se, but from ethnic activists from umbrella socio-political and cultural organizations based in Yorubaland and Igboland. They worried that a leadership recruiting trend was about to be abandoned.
Gen. Sani Abacha, the late military tyrant, had zoning in mind as he devised the concept of six geopolitical zones. It was predicted that in the post-military era, it would become a force that would foster stability and optimism in the region.
The presidency wields more influence than the 36 state legislatures and 776 local councils combined. It raises more revenue and has more leverage of capital. There is a pervasive impression that when a member of a given tribe is in charge, that racial group is in charge.
Furthermore, the merit is that zoning ensures that there is no perpetual dominance, but rather the possibility, if not guarantee, of power rotation.
The PDP was the first political party to enshrine zoning in its constitution. It was characterized as "turn by turn" by the party's leaders. The party's vision for zoning involved rotating the presidency between the North and the South, rather than among the six geopolitical regions. However, there is a requirement for the six unequal highest federal offices to be distributed among the six geopolitical zones to ensure a sense of accommodation, importance, and belonging to the zones.
Zoning is sacred, according to the PDP Constitution. “In pursuance of the philosophy of equality, justice, and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public offices, and it shall be imposed by the relevant executive committee at all levels,” according to Article 7(2)(c) of the party's constitution.
However, zoning isn't just about presidential candidates. As a result, if the presidency is zoned to a certain area, other central offices are zoned to different zones as well. Vice President, Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker, Secretary to the Federation Government, and National Chairman of the party are the positions.
Before former President Goodluck Jonathan truncated the agreement in 2019, the PDP remained committed to zoning. He came up short in the poll.
When the APC's founding fathers decided that power should move from the north to the south after President Muhammadu Buhari's second term ended, they followed the PDP's lead. Governors Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Senator Ali Ndume, Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, and his Works and Housing counterpart, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), are among those urging the party to adhere to the fundamental agreement to ensure zoning and power transfer from the north to the south in 2023.
In the APC's pretensions against zoning, there is a clause in the party's constitution that suggests some sort of zoning. A correct reading of the secret clause is needed before it can be granted proper operative material.
“The National Working Committee shall, subject to the consent of the National Executive Committee, make guidelines and regulations for the selection of candidates by primaries,” according to Article 20(iv)(d).
All such laws, legislation, and directives must take into account and follow the principles of federal character, gender equality, geopolitical distribution, and allocation of offices to maintain balance within the electorate represented as far as possible.” The president's constituency is the country.
When a party's body language promotes zoning, aspirants from outside the targeted zone can run for president in the exercise of their constitutional right to do so. However, they compete in vain during the party primary.
It's too late to change what has now become a pattern. The ramifications for the parties in particular, as well as the divided nation in general, are more obvious.
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