Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State ahead of the 2023 Presidency says that the zoning arrangements for political offices in Nigeria need to be abandoned.
According to the governor, the arrangement should be stopped, competence should be used instead.
After the completion of President Muhammadu Buhari second term in 2023, it is expected that a Southern would emerge as the next presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
El-Rufai however described the zoning formula as a barrier to political equality, saying that it needs to be abandoned for qualification, competence and character.
The governor revealed his position at a prologue titled ‘Defeating a Determined Incumbent – The Nigerian Experience’ which he wrote as a contribution to a book (Power of Possibilities and Politics of Change in Nigeria) written by Salihu Lukman, the Director-General of the Progressives Governors.
“Even with our success in the 2015 elections, there is room for improvement. Barriers to political equality, such as our seemingly entrenched though informal rule for zoning candidacies according to regions of origin, need to be de-emphasised and ultimately abandoned in favour of an emphasis on qualification, competence and character,” he said.
“The financing of parties, candidates and campaigns remains opaque.
“Many African countries are marked by savage inequalities, and a handful of individuals have the wherewithal to hold the process hostage.
“We must work towards funding parties via capped and fully disclosed donations and annual dues payable by every registered party member.”
Governor El-Rufai noted that the victory of the APC in 2015 shows that it is possible to defeat an incumbent. According to him, four conditions were the irreducible minimums for creating a stronger and more accountable democratic order.
“A unified opposition preferably merged into a single and well-structured political party well ahead of the next election cycle, and with transparent processes and progressive policies.
“A presidential candidate widely seen as credible and reformist to provide a sharp contrast to incumbents usually fattened by years of lazy, incompetent and corrupt rule.
“Honest elections that guarantee that votes count, using a mixture of competent electoral commission leadership and, crucially, deploying technologies for voter verification that drastically reduces electoral fraud.
“Credible elections are enemies of voter apathy. They enhance democratic legitimacy and citizen participation.
“Continuous engagement of the international community, particularly in the leading stable democracies as well as in multilateral institutions, to supply a crucial external fillip to the electoral process.”
El-Rufai’s move to stop the zoning arrangement in the country would be seen as a threat to the political ambitions of many heavyweight politicians in the southern parts of Nigeria.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is being speculated to emerge as the presidential candidate of the ruling party to take over from President Buhari, will be apparently more threatened by El-Rufai’s position.
This is not the first time El-Rufai’s frank statement is seen as an indirect affront at Tinubu. Naija Buzz News had few months ago published how El-Rufai noted that he would teach Lagos how to defeat political god-fathers in the state.
Tinubu who was a former Governor of Lagos State is believed to be the political god-father of Lagos. El-Rufai however noted that he was not aware that Tinubu was the god-father of Lagos politics. He noted that he has no apology for his views on how to end god-fatherism in Lagos politics.
Other political heavyweights in the south who wants to take over from Buhari include Senator Rochas Okorocha, the former Governor of Imo State.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has also been tipped to emerge as the next candidate of the APC in 2023.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.