ACF faults Jonathan's remarks on zoning

THE GUARDIAN Newspaper- Sexone Akhaine

THE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday faulted the contention by President Goodluck Jonathan that zoning and rotation of power could only be applicable to all other political offices in the country with the exception of the presidency.
Members of the National Working Committee of the group, chaired by its Deputy Chairman and former Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Saidu Barda, met in Kaduna, where they urged all political parties to ensure that the political arrangement is applicable to all political offices during the 2011 general elections.
Although, the forum’s chairman, General IBM Haruna, was conspicuously absent, others who were present at the meeting include the Vice Chairman of ACF, Senator Joseph Waku; Secretary General, Colonel Musa Shehu (rtd); Mr. Anthony Sani, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed and Mr. Bitrus Gwada.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, said: “ACF is alarmed by the statement made by the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that the policy of zoning and rotation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not apply to the office of the president of Nigeria.
“It seems obvious that the statement is an intention to abrogate some key aspects of the constitution of the PDP. Given his position as the leader of the party and head of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr. Jonathan’s statement has the capacity to alter most of the ground-rules of electioneering contest not only in PDP, but also in other political parties.”
Sani said it is either “the PDP accepts President Jonathan’s claims and then proceeds to expunge the relevant clauses in the PDP constitution, which requires that the party adheres to the policy of zoning and rotation of offices or in the alternative, the party can reject Mr. President’s postulation, affirms the requirements for rotation/zoning more clearly, and therefore asks President Jonathan to excuse himself from the party and seeks election in 2011 under another political party, which does not have similar constraints.”
Besides, the statement added that “President Jonathan’s justification of his decision to run in 2011 with the idea that some aspirants did so in both 2003 and 2007, is not correct. Not correct in the sense that in 2003, a few aspirants from the North indicated their interest to run, but the party refunded their money with which they had purchased nomination forms.”
Stressing that “there cannot be rotation and zoning that exclude office of the President,” the National Publicity Secretary of ACF said: “In any case, provisions in laws or statutes are never ignored, simply because some few people breach them, but were not sanctioned in the past.”
The Arewa members also discussed the adjustment being made to the Electoral Act and the election timetable, saying that “it is the considered view of ACF, however, that whatever actions are taken, must not change the handover date of May 29, 2011.”


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