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Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning - Politics - Nairaland

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Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning by gadogado(m): 5:29pm On Jun 21, 2010
Even without zoning, the North can still win the 2011 presidential poll, the over 150 political leaders of the region that met in Abuja last Thursday have said. The Northern politicians including former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had met in Abuja to strategise on how to ensure that the region retains the presidency till 2015.

Meanwhile, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has said the much-talked about zoning arrangement of the party is not sacrosanct and has been observed more in breach than in practice since 1999. A communiqué issued yesterday at the end of the meeting of the Northern leaders said the North can win election on its own numerical strength without zoning Also, they said they are not targeting their campaign at President Goodluck Jonathan, as the North has what it takes to win any election and never demanded for zoning in the first place. To this end, the communiqué titled, "Northern Political Leaders' Forum- Summary of Deliberations and Resolutions" resolved to take its campaigns to the Northern governors, Northern legislators at the National Assembly and Northern Houses of Assembly and Northern traditional rulers and Emirs.

The communiqué signed by former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, said the position of the Northern Elders for "politicians and other stakeholders to respect political agreements and allow the principle of zoning to run its full course, should not be construed as weakness on its part" adding, "Northerners have all it takes to win free and fair elections without special arrangements.

" The Northern Political Elders further stated that the North never demanded for zoning of any political office in Nigeria, but only acceded to the "demands of their compatriots in the South who see zoning as the only mechanism for ensuring equal and easy access to power by every Nigerian regardless of geographical location." The Northern leaders, however, said "If anybody now believes that the principle of zoning is no longer required for equal or easy access to power or no longer relevant to the political stability of Nigeria, let them come out clearly and say so, not resort to puerile legal and constitutional arguments."

The leaders observed that constitutional arguments do not necessarily solve political problems, as evidenced in Jonathan's emergence as Acting President in March. The Northern leaders' views have continued to generate controversy, with frontline politician Alhaji Isyaku Ibrahim accusing them of merely seeking relevance. According to the communiqué, "The issue of producing the next president of Nigeria is generating unnecessary and unhealthy anxiety in the land. It is regrettable that the nation is sliding back to its pre-1999 situation whereby a deliberate and dangerous propaganda is being deployed to confuse Nigerians where the nation's next president will be coming from.

This was an issue, which has long been resolved, leading to the emergence of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in 1999 and 2007 respectively. "The nation must not be dragged into avoidable crises whenever a political transition was about to take place. We must either agree to respect mutual political agreements or continue to stumble from one avoidable political crisis to another to the detriment of the nation and its political stability."

The communiqué said "a strong, united and virile North is crucial to the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria and must be pursued with all vigour, sacrifice and commitment." It said there is the need to ensure that the North remains united on crucial issues of national significance, especially where these issues affect the welfare of the people and their general well-being. It said that the demise of President Yar'Adua has thrown up a huge moral and political challenge, which the nation must face and resolve calmly, with sincerity, integrity and foresight. "While politicians come and go, the nation and its people will remain engaged in creating an enabling environment for mutual peaceful co-existence through a variety of political engineering mechanisms to ensure that the nation remains politically stable, economically viable and socially virile. "In this regard, the forum called on all Nigerians, especially politicians, to place the best interest of the nation and its political stability over and above personal or sectional interests," the communiqué stated.

They continued: "The call to respect the principle of zoning is on grounds of principle and not targeted at speculated aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. That zoning will, for the foreseeable future serve the best interest of Nigeria and its political stability, at least in the short- and medium-term. "There would have been no need for special political arrangement to concede power to the South in 1999 if Nigerians were ready to accept their presidents to come, perpetually, from any part of the country.

"That, in practice, zoning as a political mechanism to stabilize the country since 1999, has applied to every political office in Nigeria at all levels. We must be certain that we are ready as a nation to jettison the practice at all levels before we throw it overboard or set in motion a process that may lead to avoidable chaos and anarchy in the land." Also, the leaders resolved that former Head of State, General Muhmammadu Buhari and Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who have declared their presidential ambitions and others with similar ambitions be invited to future meetings.

The leaders also resolved as part of their strategy to engage the Northern Governors Forum, Northern members of the National Assembly, State Houses of Assembly and traditional rulers and Emirs. And to attain these objectives, three committees namely planning and strategy, contact and mobilization and publicity were constituted. The Planning and Strategy Committee has the following as members, Professor Ignatius Ayua (Chairman), Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Prof. Yakubu Mukhtar, Dr. Sule Bello, Senator David Iornem, Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, Basher Yusuf Ibrahim, Farouk B. B. Farouk, Omar Shittien, Prof. Maxwell Gidado and Senator Salisu Ibrahim Matori The Contact and Mobilisation Committee has the following as members: Mallam Adamu Ciroma (Chairman), with North-central members as Babangida, Lt. Gen. I. M. Wushishi (rtd), Maj. Gen David Jemibewon (rtd), Chief Audu Ogbe, Ayu, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Alhaji Shaba Lafiagi, Prof. Daniel Saror, Mr. Patrick Adaba and Alhaji Mohammed Hassan.

The North-east is represented by Atiku, Dr. Shettima Mustafa, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Kirfi, Prof. Saad Abubakar, Amb. Yarima Abdullahi, Sen. Abubakar Mahdi, Prof. Isa B. Mohammed, Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo and Alhaji Yakubu Tsala. The members of the committee from the North-west are Alhaji M.D. Yusufu, Alhaji Umaru Aliyu Shinkafi, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Senator. M. T. Liman, AVM Hamza Abdullahi, Alhaji Magaji Dambatta, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Magoro (rtd), Sen. Garba Ila Gada, Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim and Alhaji Usman Alhaji The members of the Publicity Committee are Alhaji Magaji Dambatta (Chairman), Chief Audu Ogbeh, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, Mallam Bukar Zarma, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Gusau and Amb. Zubairu Dada. However, Anenih has said the PDP zoning arrangement has been observed more in breach than in practice since 1999.

He said the disrespect for the zoning arrangement was much more manifest in 2003 and 2007 when some PDP members disobeyed the party by purchasing the presidential nomination forms when they knew that their part of the country was not qualified to contest for the party's ticket. Anenih, in a six-page open letter to the party's National Working Committee (NWC) entitled, "A Thought on 2011 Presidency and Party Leadership," said in the circumstance, President Jonathan could be a candidate in next year's presidential elections regardless of the PDP zoning of the office to the North.

The letter, dated June 14, 2010 and addressed to the then Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Haliru Bello Mohammed, was one of the documents handed over to the new National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, in Abuja last Friday. Anenih said Jonathan's candidature would be made possible if he performs creditably in providing good governance in the areas of electoral reforms, including conduct of free and fair elections and others. According to him, "There is no doubt that this is a very crucial year for the nation and if President Jonathan performs well and substantially meets the above targets, I and - I believe - majority of our party members and Nigerians in general will support his candidature.

"Therefore my advice to President Jonathan is that if he decides to take advantage of this rare and uncommon opportunity to run in 2011, he should for now focus his attention on good governance in the areas of electoral reforms, power and energy, even development and peace in the Niger Delta region as well as social stability all over the country. ", President Jonathan must bear in mind that the attainment of the above goals will require a lot of personal sacrifices and, sometimes, decisions that may be unpleasant to political allies, relations and friends.

"It is his ability to manage these interrelated and, often conflicting forces in pursuit of the goal set for him by divine providence that will make him one of the greatest political leaders ever in the history of our nation. This is the situation that our uncommon circumstance has presented, and it must be understood by all." He faulted the argument by some that the zoning arrangement precluded Jonathan from contesting in the 2011 presidential election as untenable because, according to him, the arrangement has never been sacrosanct. To buttress his point, Anenih recalled how in 1999 when the presidency was zoned to the South-west following the hue and cry from the zone because of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, the late Abubakar Rimi from the North-west collected presidential nomination form in violation of the purported zoning arrangement.

He said the same thing happened in 2003, when the South was to have its constitutional second term, recalling how two aspirants from the North - the late Rimi and former National Chairman of the party, Chief Barnabas Gemade - also collected nomination forms and contested at the party convention. Anenih stated that the situation was not different in 2007 when the party zoned the presidency to the North as sixteen Southerners collected forms in breach of the zoning arrangement. He said, "A careful analysis of the above tables (which he displayed in the letter) shows that the purported zoning arrangement was observed more in breach than in practice, especially in 2003 and 2007.The fact that some aspirants stepped down for others is not a sign that the purported zoning was respected." He stated that the present situation in the PDP required a re-examination even as he observed that Jonathan is on the same ticket with the late President Yar'Adua for eight years (four years of two terms). According to him, "One half of that ticket dropped as a result of President Yar'Adua's death.

That half has now been restored, with the appointment of the Vice-President, to allow Jonathan complete the remaining part of the tenure." He stated that "The ball is absolutely in the court of President Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo, a situation that presents a rare opportunity for both men to make history. If they are able to organise a free and fair election, ensure excellent performance in governance and do justice to all without discrimination, the sky will certainly be their limit."
Re: Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning by gadogado(m): 5:29pm On Jun 21, 2010
Re: Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning by gadogado(m): 6:12pm On Jun 21, 2010
Southerners are trying to be hypocritical because one of their own is in the presidency, trying to destroy a mechanism they initially pushed for and begged the north to grant them. All for short term gain. A pitty! political stability and equity out the door, bias, greed in, My southern brothers disappoint me!!
Re: Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning by sjeezy8: 6:19pm On Jun 21, 2010
its not short term gain ZONING PRESIDENCY IS SHIOT- if there no federalism why should any southerner CARE ABOUT BEING PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA.
Re: Northern Elders Point Out Southern Hypocrisy Over Zoning by Nobody: 6:28pm On Jun 21, 2010

Southerners are trying to be hypocritical because one of their own is in the presidency, trying to destroy a mechanism they initially pushed for and begged the north to grant them. All for short term gain. A pitty! political stability and equity out the door, bias, greed in, My southern brothers disappoint me!!

The average Southerner doesn't care where the President comes from so long as he does a reasonable job.

But the North will never present a competent person. Remember the last time, you guys gave us a dead man for President, with his wife and orderlies pulling the strings from backstage.

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