A former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has declared his support for the position of the nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Mamman Daura, on the zoning of the presidency in 2023.
Mallam Daura had in an interview with the BBC said the idea of zoning the presidency should be done away with from the 2023 elections.
Aliyu said the elderstateman’s comment was just a suggestion of a way out after over 20 years of experimenting the rotational formula.
After analysing the comment credited to Daura, the former governor told newsmen in Minna, the Niger State capital, over the weekend: “I believe he (Daura) should not be crucified because it is obvious that after over 20 years of experiment, the zoning arrangements has failed to produce the desired result.”
While defending Daura’s position on zoning, Aliyu said: “I think what he is trying to say is that after over 20 years, has the zoning really produced the best for the country?
“In the process, are we not just producing a northern President, a southern President or a possible South East President?”
Aliyu, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, pointed out: “Whatever system you have, you have an objective to achieve.
“After over 20 years of zoning arrangements, have we rarely produced the best for the country?
“We had zoning from 1999 to date because we wanted unity and we wanted every part of the country to have sense of belonging.
“We want Nigeria as one.
“So the zoning makes it obvious that everybody will be able to participate.
“But has it given us what we wanted?
“For me, I think Mamman Daura is simply saying: we have had zoning three times, why don’t we look at something else.
“Shouldn’t we move to another stage and see what happens?
“Because if you said it is my turn, it doesn’t really make you look for that thing.”
The former Governor believes that Daura’s comment on zoning should not generate unnecessary bickering because it is like flying a kite, adding: “Whether you zone it or not, election is about the number of votes you are able to gather.
“So let the people determine what happens in 2023.
“To me, I think the society should determine what they want and how to get it.”
While further justifying the position of Daura, Aliyu added: “In US today, two contagious states have produced both the President and the Vice President because they have reached that level to say we don’t need that zoning, let the best come from anywhere.
“No one can be too sure of the competency that we are looking for because, according to him, it is not the process itself that is just competent, it is the honesty of the people.
“The competency that we are looking for, whichever way you go about it, one may want to ask: are they really looking for competent leaders or they are looking for somebody they can bend or somebody they can manipulate?”
The elder statesman had in an interview with BBC Hausa Service dismissed the issue of zoning and rotation of the nation’s presidency.
He had argued that competence, not geography, should determine the next President of Nigeria in 2023, saying: “This turn-by-turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done thrice….
“It is better for this country to be one…it should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere.”