Three socio-cultural organisations, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Oodu’a Peoples Congress and the Ijaw Monitoring Group on Tuesday endorsed the zoning arrangement among the country’s six geo-political zones for the 2015 polls, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The spokesmen for the groups said zoning should not be dumped in order to ensure Nigeria’s political stability and unity.
Their comments came against the backdrop of a call for the dumping of zoning by the National Coordinator of the Arewa United Consultative Forum, Alhaji Ado Dansudu.
Dansudu wants candidates for elections to be chosen on merit and not by zoning, saying Nigeria would not move forward if it continued with the zoning arrangement.
The spokesman for Ohaneze, Mr Tonni Oganah, told NAN in Lagos that zoning should not be stopped until all the geo-political zones had tasted power.
Oganah said, “Zoning can only be stopped after all the geo-political zones making up the nation have tasted power.
“Let the rotation of power go round the zones first so that they will have a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project.
“After it has gone round, Nigerians can then sit down to fashion out how best to choose their leaders; that is the stand of Ohaneze.’’
In the same vein, the OPC founder, Dr. Frederick Faseun, said stopping zoning would amount to social injustice.
He said, “Let power go round first. Nigeria is sitting on a tripod and what is supported by a tripod cannot stand on two legs. The Yoruba cried out against marginalisation and were given a chance to rule. The Hausa have had the chance so many times.
“It is only fair that the third leg of the tripod, the Igbo, should be allowed to enjoy power.
“At the end of it all, we will sit down and decide the method of selecting our leaders and candidates.’’
A Niger Delta chief and Coordinator of the IMG, Mr Joseph Evah, also told NAN that the principle of zoning was already embedded in the 1999 Constitution.
According to him, zoning is what the federal character enshrined in the constitution is all about.
-------PUNCH Wednesday, February 20, 2013