A founding member of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Sunny Udoh has said that recent statements credited to President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew Mamman Daura on zoning of the 2023 Presidency could cause tension and upset Nigerians.
Daura, had in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service said since Nigerians had tried the rotational presidency about thrice previously, it would be better to go for the most qualified candidate in 2023, irrespective of whether he comes from the North or South.
But Udoh, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC, told newsmen in Uyo yesterday that rotation of the Presidency is yet to go full cycle adding that zoning remained one of the best strategies to ensure that no section of the country is left out in occupying the Presidency.
“The rotation of the presidency cannot be said to have gone full circle as he opined. The grievances are more pronounced now that people are free to air their views under the democracy government.
‘During the military era, Nigerians were forced to remain silence. Hence such arrangement cannot be regarded as trite because it has helped in stabilising the polity. Don’t forget military coups were ostensibly linked to these issues,” he said.
He recalled that Daura in the past has maintained this stand, which is not bad but to conclude that the arrangement has served its purpose is very insensitive to Nigerians.
“I do support election of qualified and competent Nigerians as President of the Country; this doesn’t mean people in other zones do not have such leaders. The East and Middle belt are clamouring for the presidency too.
“Those of us in the South–South felt we didn’t complete two terms like others. If political parties have come up with a strategy that has stabilized the polity why throw it out when others are still feeling neglected.
“Someday we shall come to that point, but pretending that all is well now is unjustifiable. It is the same way the British amalgamated Nigeria in 1914 without investigating what is best for us or how the components called Nigeria today could have existed without much rancor. Many are talking about separation today. We should not rush into something we can’t protect,” Udoh stated.
The former Cross River lawmaker opined that it is wrong to say that rotation of political office would negate the tenet of the constitution, saying that, “the zoning of offices has always been a party matter, likewise the choice of running mates. Each zone cannot even secure the presidency without cooperation of the other.
“This is the crux of the matter. We should eschew this politics of selfishness and join hands to develop this country for the betterment of all.”
He posited that Daura’s stand could be opinion of some ambitious politicians, who are trying to promote their aspirations, which could be forgiven but added that Nigerians know what they want and will pursue it vigorously not minding such suggestions.
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