Adekola Afolabi & Saheed Ibrahim
Some experts in the country have kicked against zoning as a national policy for the country’s plum seat-the presidency.
Adopting zoning, they warned would sacrifice merit and discourage the brightest and best minds to take a shot at the country’s presidency.
They further claimed that zoning could be done at the political party level, but it should not be adopted as a national policy. They reasoned that secessionists agitations was to ensure there is equity and justice.
A Professor of Political Science at Ekiti State University, Prof. Akinsola Agagu stated that what Nigeria needed was a capable and legitimate leader.
His words: “The first thing is that the country needs the best and the most capable person for the position of the president . We need a good president, no matter where he or she comes from.”
He said it was logical for geopolitical zones in the country to clamour for the ultimate seat of power in the country.
“The issue of discrimination and favouritism has been a major issue. People feel discriminated and also feel as a way of showing that they belong to the system and show that other ethnic groups have regard for them, it is reasonable and rational for them to want the seat of power,” he said.
While citing the emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan as a panacea to the tension in the South-South, the political don said that zoning was a reasonable thing if it would douse the tension in the country.
Agagu said there were many capable hands across the states and regions in the country that could effectively lead the nation to her Canaan land and zoning would give each people a sense of belonging, but it must be understood that it was not given on the platter of gold, it must be earned.
Also speaking, a Political Scientist at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Dr Bayo Fasuwon said zoning the office of the president makes the electoral system more prone to rigging and electoral malpractices.
He argued that rather than zoning, the electorate should be the final judge of any election. He supported that zoning could be adopted within a political party but not as a national policy.
“A nation cannot afford to sacrifice merit on the altar of zoning. If the electorate are allowed to be the final judges and parties allow transparent and fair internal democracy, the best leaders would eventually emerge.
Fasuwon suggested that the institutions in the country should be made vibrant and allow people’s votes to count as this would tackle political apathy witnessed during elections in the country.
A constitutional lawyer and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Tunji Abayomi averred that government should first address the country’s myriad of problems including insecurity before talking about zoning of 2023 presidency.
Abayomi expressed sadness that the country had left the real problem bedeviling it unattended to and dissipated energy on unnecessary issue.
He challenged the leadership of Yoruba who have always been in the forefront of change and betterment of the country to convince other regions on the need to have constitutional conference to bring about a new Nigeria.
“A political order that is bringing nothing but imperfect political development, economic ruin, corruption, intolerance, resentment, suspicion and hatred will not do any nation any good.
“What the Yoruba people should do is convince the other zones why it is important for us to sit round a table for us to have a greater Nigeria, not a greater power to them”, Abayomi stressed.
Dr Abayomi said the major concern of the country was to have an appropriate framework of government for today and future possibilities.
He argued that the fundamental problem of the nation was the unitary constitution forced on the country by one-sided military that has no good intention for the country.
He noted the APC constitution allows for rotational presidency between the North and the South, saying the South was in the best position to produce the next President come 2023 and it has all it takes to produce the next President.
In his reaction, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Mr. Ebenezer Alabi also argued that zoning would not solve the socio, economical and political problems in the country.
Although, Alabi said that every region has a right to have a shot at the presidency as the seat is not exclusively for a particular section of the country, he noted that the nation must first get it right.