Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has contributed his voice to the debate over political office zoning in Nigeria.
He claims that zoning has no place in the Nigerian Constitution, which does not acknowledge its existence.
Atiku said the country was blessed with people with the right attributes who could lead the country regardless of where they came from during a meeting with members of the ‘Let’s Fix Nigeria’ group who paid him a visit at his Abuja residence on Friday, and advised Nigerians to look for such people to take up the mantle of leadership at all levels.
Atiku also faulted calls that political parties should zone their presidential tickets to particular regions of the country, saying the “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not recognise zoning.”
“Fundamentally, the Constitution says all of us can run for elective positions. The Constitution has not barred any one of us. There is no zoning in the Constitution; there is none. I was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the current Constitution and there was nothing like that.
“But then, as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, we felt that there should be a sense of belonging. We went and invented this zoning.
“Therefore, we went further to say there should be zonal representation. So, let me assure you that as far as I am concerned, I will observe and implement whatever will bring about the peace and stability of this country.
“Leadership is endowed by God. You can have a young man come and do better than an old man. So, it is an endowed attribute from God, therefore, we should try to look for such a person who has been endowed by God, who has those attributes and then give him leadership.
“As far as the unity of this country is concerned, we are more divided. Even when we fought the Civil War, we were never as divided as this. We never have a breakdown of law and order like this because when we fought the Civil War, it was confined to a particular location, in every other place, there was peace.
“We never had this kind of poverty where even the farmer cannot go to farm the food to eat, not to talk of commercial farming. So, I have never seen this country so bad, and it is going to be a daunting task for anybody to come and turn things around,” he said.