2023 Presidency: Ango Abdullahi receives knocks for opposing zoning
Chukwudi Akasike, Adelani Adepegba, Godwin Isenyo, James Abraham and Raphael Ede
The Convener of the Northern Elders’ Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, on Tuesday came under fire for saying that the presidency of Nigeria should “stay in Nigeria” and not zone to any region in 2023.
he spoke to newsmen shortly after the opening ceremony of a public lecture in Kaduna.
Asked whether the North would relinquish the presidency in 2023, the NEF’S boss said there was no portion of the constitution which said the Nigerian presidency should be rotated among the ethnic groups or regions in the country.
he said the rotation of the President between the North and the South was the making of political parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party, which he claimed jettisoned the unwritten rule under expresident Goodluck Jonathan.
he said, “Go and check the constitution, there is no place it said the president of Nigeria will be shared according to local governments, states or geopolitical zones. In fact, geopolitical zone does not exist in the constitution. Go and check,” he added.
But socio-cultural groups, namely Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Middle Belt Forum and the Ijaw Youth Council, have knocked Abdulalhi, saying his declaration was provocative.
The Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, cautioned Abdullahi against taking the rest of the country for granted by making provocative statements.
he said, “People like Ango Abdullahi are getting carried away with the ‘reaping without sowing mentality’ and they are beginning to talk anyhow in a very provocative and annoying manner to the rest of the country.
“They should be careful not to push us to the wall. They should be careful about their provocative utterances. That people are tolerating them does not mean they (the people) are stupid.”
Also, the Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Prince Uche Achi-okpaga, who spoke to The PUNCH, described Abdullahi as an “ethnic chauvinist who thinks because they have power now, they can use it the way they so desire.”
Achi-okpaga said, “In all the 36 states every position is zoned. The governorship is zoned and the speaker does not come from the zone of the governor. In the party every position is zoned to the respective zones of the state. If you go to the National Assembly positions are zoned. At the national level positions are zoned.
“Just because some people feel that they are at the helm of affairs and they can do what they want with power, they begin to make permutations that are not obtainable anywhere. In the APC there’s zoning; in the presidency there’s zoning – the President is from the North, the Vice President is from the South-west. Is that not zoning?
“The chairman of the APC is from the South-south. They have continued to zone every position every time. Why are they trying to deviate from that arrangement? Such arrangement exists even within the presidency. Why are they trying to derail as if it has not been in existence?
“Even in Abdullahi’s house, there is zoning. If he has children, does he give everything to one of his children? he zones everything. he shares his wealth according to the size and number of his children. he doesn’t give it to one person. So there is zoning in everything.
“When he says there is no zoning, I think he is not telling himself the truth.
“he is only being chauvinistic. That is how ethnicity has reduced us in Nigeria.”
Also, the National President of the MBF, Dr Bitrus Porgu, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Jos on Tuesday, argued that although no such provision exists in the constitution, provision was made for federal character.
he advised Abdullahi to be nationalistic in his position, instead of reducing himself to a sectional leader
he said, “Our founding fathers thought it wise that there should be rotational presidency, so that there would be balance and equity in the country. If anyone thinks that because they are in power and can use the machinery of government to coerce other sections of the country into submission, it is simply a call to anarchy and those championing this should know that Nigerians are not ready to take it because this government has caused so much pain to them.”
Similarly, the President, IYC, Eric Omare, expressed dissatisfaction with Abdullahi’s statement against rotational presidency.
Omare said, “That statement by Prof. Ango Abdullahi shows that the elders of this country have lost their conscience. People like Ango Abdullahi, at his age, should be the conscience of this country in terms of speaking the truth.
“That statement by Ango Abdullahi is a study in selfcontradiction and it shows that the elders have lost their conscience and as youths of this country, we are highly disappointed in him. At his age, he should be able to speak the truth, no matter the circumstances.
“I have always said that 2023 is the turn of the South and in southern Nigeria, it is the turn of the South-east. I have also called on the people of the South-east to start their drive for the Presidency because you don’t get power by sitting at home.”
•L-R: Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan; Liaison Officer on Akinyele/egbeda Federal Constituency, Mrs Wulemotu Ibitoye; Chairman, Liaison Officers on Federal Constituency in Oyo State, Chief Jacob Adetoro; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; and other officers, during their inauguration at Governor’s Office in Ibadan… on Tuesday. Photo: Oyo State Government