Zone for National Unity-Olabode George

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George has described zoning as the pillar that has been helping to hold the nation together, adding that any attempt to dump it may jeopardize or scuttle the nation’s democracy.

George made the assertion in an interview at his home in Lagos and warned Nigerian political leaders  against any attempt to dump zoning in the country in 2023.

There have been insinuations about a hidden agenda to keep the presidency in the North after 2023, do you have same fear?

While responding to the hidden agenda to keep the presidency in the north after 2023, George said It will be good to keep rotation as it is what has been binding Nigeria together, stressing it is not unique only to us as a nation. He added that the the issue is a sensitive one and should be careully treated otherwise it can jeopardize the nation’s unity.

George who restated that a lot of northerners in APC  including Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state are even now saying that presidency should go back to the South in 2023. He said if we are to follow the principle of rotation, presidency should revert back to the South in 2023. The PDP he said will meet and come to a consensus over the issue.

“Zoning, and rotation must go hand in gloves. It is not only in Nigeria that it is being done. Zwitzerland is made up of French, the Italians, and the Germans. The French have their own capital in Geneva, the Italians in Lugano, and the Germans in Zurich. The three rotate power among themselves”.

George has said any part of the country can produce a competent leader to run the country and Zoning is a novel idea in Nigeria and if anybody is talking about competence, there is no problem about that but rather an arrangement that will sustain the nation’s unity.

“It is only when we have restructured and carry out devolution of power that we can now talk about dumping zoning but without restructuring first, any attempt to dump zoning will backfire. It will have a negative impact on the nation’s democracy”

A Former Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani has said that it is possible for power to shift from the North to South in 2023 only if the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) resolve to pick their presidential candidates from the South.  Sani who spoke in an interview  in Jos, expressed fear that if the parties decide to choose their candidates from the North and the South, there is a tendency that people will vote based on religion, ethnicity and regional lines.

Sani admonished the South West and the South East to resolve their political differences and come up with a common position that the entire Southern region with rally round for a smooth power shift to the South in 2023.

He said there is a need for leaders like General Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar to lead a conference in the north that will bring together, religious leaders, traditional rulers, community leaders, civil society and see how the likes of General Aliu Gusau will come together to address our religious and ethnic issues in the North and come up with a template of what the region intends to achieve the next 10 to 20 years and the resolution should be institutionalized in all the states in the North.

Ahead of the 2023 presidential race, with the opinion and counter opinion requesting a southern president, are you for or against political zoning?

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