Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, has said that for equity and justice, the major political parties should zone their presidency to the South-East.
Amadi who is also the Director of Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, argued that the notion of zoning the presidency to the South was fraudulent and unacceptable, noting that the South has not been marginalised in the presidency as a region, but the South-East has been marginalised as a zone.
Speaking with Journalists, Dr Amadi noted that just as political elites agreed in consensus to zone presidency to South-West in 1999 as a way to respond to the 1993 crisis, the elites should also agree to micro-zone to South East in 2023 if they believe that there is a crisis in the region that needs to be addressed.
He, however, said that if the elites felt that there was no crisis to address in the South-East, hence the decision of zoning to the region was not needed, then the 2023 presidential election should be thrown open for all qualified Nigerians to participate.
“In our conversations, we have been reviewing how the process of zoning is playing out, and we have few concerns, number one is that we just realised that this politics of zoning has taken a dangerous turn as a result of response to the last 6 or 7 years of this administration which many groups feel marginalised.
“Zoning should be properly understood, ideally, elections should be open competition. The notion of zoning grew as a response largely during the June 12 election when the election was annulled, and the political elites as a matter of consensus agreed that there was the need to deal with the crisis of confidence in the South-West.
“Our view in Abuja school is that you don’t need to zone anything if you don’t think that there is a clear present danger. Zoning is affirmative action, if you see a crisis that you need to respond to, and then everybody can decide to agree on zoning.
“Zoning is an abstraction from normal politics which is a need to solve a problem, so our view in Abuja school is that if you want to zone, then the zoning should go to the South East straight, not South-South.
“We reject the notion of zoning to the South for the clear reason that the South has suffered no peculiar and aggravated damage in Nigeria politics in terms of representation viz-a-viz the North”.
He explained that there is no basis to zone presidency to the South because, since 1999, the South has been in power more than the north.
“Since 1999, the South has suffered no peculiar damage in terms of political representation for us to trigger zoning to the South. The only place where a national consensus for zoning is agreed is the South East. It is a place that has not held presidential power.
“Our view is that if the Nigerian elites think there is a crisis that needs affirmative action, it is South East, not South, if they don’t think there is a crisis, then it should be open competition to give all Nigerians the right to participate.
“Since 1999, the South has held office more time than the North, If President Buhari finishes his tenure that will be 10 years of Northern President, two years under PDP, eight years under APC, Obasanjo did Eight years plus Jonathan’s six years, that means the north has ten years while the South has 14 years, there is no equity or justice zoning to the South.
“We reject a zoning campaign for the South because there is no justice for it. We are saying that what Nigeria needs now is power-sharing, an arrangement in which, just like Abacha Constitution that was cancelled, proposed where the major offices in the Federal executive are shared among all the various ethnic and socio-groups so there will be a balance.
“But if the Nigeria political elites think that because of the crisis they think the South East has not held this position and the issues of separatists then they can zone specifically to South Ea