Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has come under fire for faulting the call on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its presidential ticket to a particular region of the country, and insisting that the Nigerian constitution does not recognise zoning.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Atiku, who is one of the prominent northern politicians interested in contesting the 2023 presidential election, had faulted the agitation for zoning.
Speaking at a meeting with members of a group, ‘Let’s Fix Nigeria’ who were on a solidarity visit at his residence in Abuja last Friday, Atiku said zoning was unconstitutional.
The former vice president argued: “There is no zoning in the constitution; there is none. I was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the current constitution and there was nothing like that.”
He also reportedly stated that any Nigerian endowed with the right attributes could lead the country, as against the call for a younger president.
Reacting to the rejection of zoning by Atiku, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) criticised Atiku.
PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, on Monday, said that Atiku’s claim was not justified given the prevailing circumstances in the country, adding that “It is rather unfortunate that the former Vice President drew such a conclusion”.
According to him, he (Atiku) knows his statement is inconsistent with established and justifiable protocols and conventions, which have helped to sustain considerable understanding, peace, and stability in the polity.
“Truth is, the narrative that there is no zoning in the nation’s Constitution is a conscienceless mockery of our democratic evolution, and indeed, the country’s constitution.
“It bears underscoring that Nigeria’s Constitution, though flawed, has ample provisions that emphasize inclusiveness, fairness, and equity.
“Section 14(3) of the Constitution (as amended) provides that “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies.” The intent and purpose of this section are precise and explicit.
“PANDEF, accordingly, further calls on all political parties to zone their presidential ticket to the South; any political party that does otherwise shall not have our support in 2023.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other northerners expressing interest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 ought to understand that their desire flies in the face of natural justice.
“It would be, therefore, sufficient to implore former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the other northerners to shelve their ambitions now and support the emergence of credible individuals from the south as presidential candidates of their various political parties. Anything otherwise would be undignifying and injurious to national concord,” Robinson said.