Afegbua Challenges Southern Governors Over 2023 Presidential Election
— Counters Atiku over zoning
By Rex Enabulele/Abuja
Former commissioner of Information in Edo state, Kassim Afegbua, has challenged the governors of the South to speak with one voice over 2023 presidential election so that the zone will get what rightly belongs to it.
He also countered his former boss, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who recently stated that there was no zoning in the Nigerian constitution.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Afegbua, who was Abubakar’s spokesman in the 2019 presidential election, said that zoning is constitutional as zoning means “the same thing as Federal Character, which is expressly captured in the 1999 constitution.”
He said that the federal character talks about political balancing of positions and appointments, which is the same thing as zoning.
“Zoning means divide into or assign to zones, positions and appointments whether by way of election or appointment.
“For those who are declaring that there is no zoning in the constitution, why has it been the practice that each time a candidate emerges from the North, his Vice Presidential candidate comes from the South, and vice-versa.
“The Senate President is also zoned to another geopolitical zone, ditto for the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, and even the Secretary of Government of the Federation.
“If there is no zone, these positions could have been concentrated in one geopolitical zone, but for that Federal Character provision in the constitution, which is similar to zoning, we have made it a point of duty to observe zoning. In a plural society like Nigeria, given our diversities, one cannot do without zoning and power sharing”, Afegbua explained.
He added that no matter how nepotistic the Buhari presidency is, it has observed the principle of zoning positions to create some level of balance.
Afegbua urged the media to educate Nigerians on the therapeutic effect of zoning and applying the doctrine of federal character, which has been in place since the independence of Nigeria.
According to him, “it is an attraction we cannot run away from given our peculiarities, sensibilities and equivocation. As a party, if you choose not to zone by way of balancing the algorithms, take all your candidates from a section of the country and let us watch how your political fortunes pan out.
“Those who are reading the constitution upside down or trying as it were, to twist the logic of zoning to suit their bulbous ego, are only trying to be clever by half. The facts of the matter do not support their illogic.
“For our diversities and heterogeneous configurations, with several nation-states within the nation, the zoning principle has to be deliberately applied to create the required political stability. Anything short of the application of this doctrine will be unconstitutional, and a clear abuse of the principle of Federal Character, which is enshrined in the 1999 constitution.”
He stressed that the principle of amalgamation, which was consummated in 1914, is very clear and unambiguous in rotating the leadership of the country between the North and South.
He added, “Rather than continue to dwell on the impropriety of turning logic on its head by the political ambition of our brothers from the North, it will make for good judgment for them to bury their ambition and support the Southern zone to produce credible candidates for the 2023 General election.
“Trying to ignore this inalienable right of the South to produce the next president of Nigeria will spell political doom for the country. It is only a greedy, selfish, egocentric, and desperate politician from the North that would still insist on going ahead to contest despite the obvious imbalance.”
He advised the governors of the Southern zones to speak with one voice in ensuring that the South gets what truly belongs to it