2023 Presidency: Drop The Ambition To Become Nigeria’s Next President – PANDEF Tells Atiku
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has replied former Vice President Atiku Abubakar over his recent statement that zoning is not constitutional and shouldn’t be used to determine candidates for the 2023 general elections in the country.
The forum in a statement on Monday described the position adopted by Atiku as selfish while insisting on a 2023 southern presidency.
It also said any party that picks a northerner as its 2023 presidential candidate would not be supported by members of the forum.
PANDEF, therefore, urged Atiku and all other northern aspirants interested in the 2023 presidency to shelve their ambitions.
Naija News recalls Atiku had said the 1999 constitution doesn’t recognize zoning as championed by some Southern groups.
He made this known on Friday at a meeting with members of a group, ‘Let’s Fix Nigeria’ with Atiku, who were on a solidarity visit to his residence in Abuja.
The former vice president said that the constitution gives all candidates the chance to contest in the 2023 presidential election, adding that nobody can bar them from joining the presidential race.
Atiku disclosed he was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the 1999 Constitution and there was nothing like zoning in the document.
However, the Waziri of Adamawa recalled how he bought the idea of zoning in the PDP during a discussion with a former vice president, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, saying Nigerians should choose competence over zoning.
However, replying the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, PANDEF said in the interest of fairness, justice, and equity, Nigeria should adopt a rotational presidency.
The statement titled ‘PANDEF’s reaction to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s Statement on Zoning’, reads: “It is rather unfortunate that the former Vice President drew such a conclusion.
“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.
“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 intent and purpose of this section are precise and explicit.
“PANDEF, accordingly, further calls on all political parties to zone their presidential ticket to the South; any political party that does otherwise shall not have our support in 2023.
“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.
“It would be, therefore, sufficient to implore former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the 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,” Robinson said.