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The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has berated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, over his statement that there is on zoning in the Nigerian constitution.
PANDEF in a statement by the spokesman, Ken Robinson, noted that it is rather unfortunate that Atiku drew such a conclusion on a sensitive national issue.
The statement reads in part: “He 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.”
PANDEF emphasized that 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 Forum argued that the intent and purpose of this section are precise and explicit.
PANDEF, therefore, declared that zoning and rotation of key political positions in the polity cannot be discarded in a diverse and complex society like Nigeria, particularly, under the prevailing circumstances. The enjoined all political parties in the country to zone their presidential ticket to the South; adding that any political party that does otherwise shall not have their support in 2023.
PANDEF maintained: “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.”
The Forum urged Atiku and 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,” PANDEF declared.
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