Plot To Jettison Zoning: Akeredolu, Ndume, Kokori, Bamidele, Others Warn APC

CHAIRMAN, Southern Governors Forum and Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, alongside other key stakeholders in the Nigeria project, on Monday, warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the plot to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the North. Other prominent citizens that spoke against the plot, including Senator Ali Ndume and foremost labour leader, Comrade Frank Kokori, said the plot constitutes a threat to the delicate balance of the country. 

The public outrage followed the declaration by the national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu that the party had not zoned its ticket to the South. The presidential convention of the party is expected to hold on May 30 and 31. 

Speaking at the Presidential Villa at the weekend, Adamu had dropped the hint that no geopolitical zone would be precluded from the race for APC ticket. 

Adamu, who incidentally is from the North-Central, said no decision had been taken on zoning of the APC presidential slot. 

In a statement he personally signed, Governor Akeredolu said power should be zoned to the South in 2023 because “it is the turn of the southern part of the country to produce the next president.” 

Akeredolu said his party, the APC, should be bold enough to come out on the issue by zoning its presidential ticket to the South for equity, justice and fairness. He said the APC leadership should not keep party members waiting on where the next president would come from but to act decisively on the matter without delay, stressing that the principle of Federal Character is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). 

Akeredolu stated it would be disingenuous for anyone to argue against rotation at this period, adding that just as the party fixed various fees for the purchase of forms, it should have no difficulty making pronouncement on this very important issue, just as it has fixed various fees for the purchase of forms. 

“No statement must suggest, even remotely, that the party harbours certain sentiments which may predispose it to consider throwing the contest open. This is certainly not the time for equivocation. Equity dictates that we take a stand,” he stressed. 

Akeredolu, who noted that APC leadership ensured the spirit of rotational representation in its just concluded convention, demanded that it extended the spirit towards zoning power to the South by making categorical statement, devoid of equivocation, on the pattern of succession. 

Akeredolu said: “The current democratic dispensation is anchored on the unwritten convention driven by a principle of equity. 

“Political expediency dictates, more appealingly, that while adhering to the spirit and letters of the laws guiding conduct of elections and succession to political offices, we must do nothing which is capable of tilting the delicate balance against the established arrangement which guarantees peace and promotes trust. 

“Our party just elected officers on the established principle of giving every part of the country an important stake in the political calculus. The focus has now shifted to the process which will culminate in the participation of our party in the general election scheduled for next year. 

“All lovers of peace and freedom must do everything to eschew tendencies which may predispose them to taking decisions which promote distrust and lead to a crisis, the end of which nobody may be able to predict. 

“The leadership of the party ensured that the principle of rotational representation guided its decision at the just-concluded convention. The party chairmanship position has gone to the North. All other offices have been filled on this understanding. 
This is the time the leaders of the party must make a categorical statement, devoid of equivocation, on the pattern of succession.” 

He added, “Our party, the APC, has started the process which will eventually culminate in the presentation of elected political leaders, who must steer the affairs of the country for another term. 

We have been able to hold the party’s convention successfully. New officers of the party have emerged in a process that is widely acknowledged as rancour-free. 

“The level of understanding and maturity displayed by all and sundry has been commendable. Known adversaries have been forced to accept the emerging fact that our party is formidable and ready for the next general election. 
The current socioeconomic crises are surmountable. It is commendable that the government is addressing these issues without drama. The Federal Government and leadership of our great party will come out stronger. We cannot, therefore, afford any internal bickering which holds the potential promise of causing distrust and militating against cohesion, harmony and the zeal to achieve set objectives.”

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