Nigeria’s former military president and a 2011 presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ibrahim Babangida, has defended the zoning arrangement of the PDP arguing it should be maintained for the 2011 electionms
Speakingin Lagos airport recently, Babangida said zoning should be continued by the party since it is in the PDPs constitution to rotate political offices.
“There has always been a misconception and I hope I will seize this opportunity to correct it,” he said.
“That misconception is very simple; whoever emerges as the candidate of a political party is aspiring to be the president of this great country, but there is a party that makes a rule and regulation.
Because we want to attract people to join our party, we zoned political offices so that every part of the country irrespective of religion or ethnicity will have a hope that one day it will come to their turn.”
Explaining that the act of zoning in the party started since 1979, he stated that the process has assisted in keeping the country united.
“I want to say that this has helped in a very significant way in stabilizing the polity in this country, because it was started not this time, not in 2010,” he said. “As far back as 1979 this process has been on, so it’s not the North or South, no; it’s the process of selection.”
He also urged members of the public to see northern presidential aspirants as Nigerians and not just northern candidates seeking presidential tickets, stressing that the laws upon which the party stands should be obeyed.
“I think I should try to clarify it,” he said.
“Me and my colleagues, we don’t want to be seen as candidates of the north but as Nigerian candidates who are in a political party that signed that political offices should be zoned and all we are asking for is a simple thing.
Let the party’s rules and regulations be followed, where it is not followed then you go through the same process of convention and jettison that rule and you can correct it or constitutionally have it amended, but it hasn’t been demanded, so that is the rule going on.”
Babangida also said the four presidential aspirants in the PDP from the north have resolved to step down and support whoever makes it as the party’s flag bearer.
“The four of us have agreed that for this best sign of statesmanship, we will support whoever comes up,” he said.