Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has hailed the All Progressives Congress (APC) for zoning its presidential ticket to the South of Nigeria and is challenging other political parties to follow the example of the ruling party.
In a statement by Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, its National Publicity Secretary, the Professor (Ambassador) George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide , also slammed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for his position that zoning is not in the Constitution.
While commending the APC for zoning the presidency to the South, however, Ohanaeze Ndigbo urged the party and the other parties to go further to “follow the search for political stability, unity, progress, equity and justice to its logical conclusion” by micro zoning the position to the South East.
Full text of the statement reads:
OHANAEZE NDIGBO HAILS THE APC ZONING TEMPLATE
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide hails the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) for zoning their presidential ticket to the South of Nigeria. The APC has, by their zoning pattern shown the way for others to follow.
It is important to recapitulate that the concept of zoning of political offices was first introduced in the Second Republic by the National Party of Nigeria, NPN as a way of managing the diverse inter-ethnic tensions. Also, during a National Constitutional Conference, following the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential election, a number of prominent leaders such as Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Bola Ige, Alh Abubakar Rimi, etc advocated rotating the presidency between the North and the South and specifically among the six geopolitical zones (north-central, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-south, and south-west).
The zoning principle attained a healthy climax with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) led government, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. During the Obasanjo democratic era, zoning of political party offices was also displayed publicly to the admiration of all the participants. The zoning principle also applied to the ministries of the federal government, such that some ministries, categorized as Grade A, B, C, etc were resolved across the six geo-political zones of the country to ensure balance, equity and national loyalty; and even down to the federal boards and parastatals. The zoning system was so promoted that it was incorporated into the constitution of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
The APC, in order to beat the PDP in their own game, in 2014 zoned their presidential candidate to the North and the Vice Presidential candidate to the South and that was the APC trump card for the 2015 general election. Two days ago, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad El Rufai disclosed that the APC had always applied zoning in the three previous elections. According to El Rufai, “when we elected John Oyegun as chairman, we had a zoning arrangement. Each of the six zones had offices allocated to them. We also carried that along when we elected Adams Oshiomhole as our National Chairman’.
El Rufai therefore affirmed that for the 2023 general elections “we have agreed on a zoning formula for all the six geo-political zones. According to El Rufai, the northern zone will have the positions the south have had in the last eight years; and vice versa”
Thus, APC has by the above decision won the heart of the Southern Governors Forum comprising governors from PDP, APC, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Afenifere, Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and indeed all Nigerian compatriots.
It is hoped that the PDP will emulate the APC by zoning its presidential ticket to the South. It is worth reiterating that the bane of Nigerian politics is rooted, among others, in lack of principles. Mahatma Gandhi had stated that one of the sins of the world is politics without principles. It is to this end that Nigeria has for decades floundered and fluttered because of avoidable injustice, inequity and lack of principles.
The most unconscionable dramatization of lack of principles in politics can be located in the remarks by the former Vice President and one of the exponents of zoning formular in the past, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and indeed all the presidential aspirants from the North. The former Vice President under the PDP government has tried unsuccessfully to explain his claims that there is no zoning in the Nigerian constitution. He however failed to explain the implications of quota system, elements and spirit of federal character and more importantly, that his emergence as vice president was anchored on zoning principle. Beyond the Atiku double-speak is that the people of South East have sacrificed a lot for the PDP, starting from Dr. Alex Ekwueme to the last presidential election of the political war-horse, Alh. Atiku Abubakar. The PDP is reminded that a masquerade that turns against its minders in a stab of arrogance and delusion risks the humiliation of being deserted at the market square.
While hailing President Muhammadu Buhari and the entire leadership of the APC, Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that there is no half way to justice and equity; and that “injustice is an open wound, only truth can heal it”. Therefore, the South East of Nigeria are very confident that the APC will follow the search for political stability, unity, progress, equity and justice to its logical conclusion.
Furthermore, Nigerians should note that justice and truth are like gold; buried one hundred feet below the sea level for one hundred years, becomes more valuable when unearthed. So, there is always a profound sense of dignity when one embarks on the right course. Here lies the irrepressible Igbo collective unconscious.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Professor George Obiozor is highly elated that the APC has shown the way for others to follow.
Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide