Presidency 2023: Lawmaker takes El-Rufai up on zoning

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A member representing Barakin-ladi and Riyom Federal Constituency of Plateau State in the House of Representatives, Mr. Simon Mwadkon, has condemned the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for calling for the abrogation zoning in determining where the president emerges in 2023.

 It would be recalled that the governor had in a prologue entitled ‘Defeating a determined incumbent – The Nigerian experience’, which he contributed to a book ‘Power of possibilities and politics of change in Nigeria’ written by the director-general of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman stated that the zoning of political offices is a barrier to political equality.

“Even with our success in the 2015 elections, there is room for improvement. Barriers to political equality, such as our seemingly entrenched though informal rule for zoning candidacies according to regions of origin, need to be de-emphasised and ultimately abandoned in favour of an emphasis on qualification, competence and character,” he wrote.

But Mwadkon, in his reaction said El-Rufai’s position is inimical to the unity of Nigeria and an attempt to circumvent zoning for selfish interest.

He said El-Rufai was trying to make some Nigerians “more Nigerian than others,” adding that the governor was trying to find out people would react before he (governor) launches his 2023 bid for the presidency.

“It is unfortunate that Governor el-Rufai can come out with such a statement. Apart from the political arrangements in place in the country, the 1999 Constitution recognises federal character and if he is talking of competence, why didn’t he raise the issue before 2019 election?

“If he is a genuine advocate of equality and competence, why is his state having low cut-off mark for admission and he is not complaining? He should stop speaking from both sides of his mouth.

“El-Rufai is just testing the waters and flying 2023 kite for his ambition and, therefore, wants to rock the boat. Nigerians should not listen to him. He wants to incite the North against the South,” he said.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Johnbull Shekarau, said the likes of el-Rufai change their views based on the direction of the wind, adding that it was a selfish call to rock the boat ahead of 2023.

“The call is not genuine. He wants to create problem to pave the way for actualisation of his dream in 2023. People know he wants to contest for Presidency. This call is not in the interest of this nation. Nigerians should disregard it.

“Why did he not say this when Buhari was contesting in 2015? He simply wants to provoke the south. This is mischief. If it is an Igbo, Yoruba or Middle-Belt man that is in power, will he be saying that?

“When the time comes, Nigerians will jettison zoning, but el-Rufai is not competent to champion this. More so, the North will complete its second term in 2023,” he said.

For his part, a former speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Istifanus Mwansat described as “unfortunate” the way some Nigerians position as it suits them.

He said the call for de-emphasising zoning was a ploy to shortchange the South.

“It is not in the interest of the nation. It is against national unity. It is capable of heating up the polity and igniting problem in the country.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) should caution and condemn him. He is up to a game that is not in the interest of this country,” he said.

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