A presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Sam Ohuabunwa, says Nigeria is not yet ripe to jettison zoning system.
Ohuabunwa, who is the Convener of the New Nigeria Group (NNG), stated this at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
He explained that for now jettison zoning would not be a good idea given the country’s level of political development and ethnic diversity.
Ohuabunwa said that zoning was still needed to ensure inclusiveness, where the interest of the majority and minority would be protected.
He said that given the level of diversity, Nigeria would not have a wholesome nation if zoning, “which is like federal character is jettisoned”.
“That is why I think the writers of the 1999 Constitution provided for the federal character.
“What is the essence of federal character? It simply means that no single group or religious or tribal group should dominate the public space and office.
“Therefore, the federal character is applicable to the office of the president. What that means is that no one group should continue to produce the president all the time,” he said.
Ohuabunwa noted that if there was no federal character, then the civil service would have been dominated by a section of Nigeria.
He said that it was important that zoning continues until every region of the country produce a president, before collective decision could be made to abandon the system.
“It cannot be done unilaterally, we all have to collectively agree,” the aspirant said.
Ohuabunwa, who said that he believed that zoning would end when Nigeria abolish issue of state of origin as presently practised in some other countries.
“As long as Nigeria stills operate states of origin, zoning has to continue,” he added.
He, however, said it was logical for the South, especially the South East, to produce the next president of Nigeria for equity sake.
Ohuabunwa listed his mission to include creating a new Nigeria that would work for all.
“A Nigeria where the North, South, East and West, Middle Belt, the South South, the minority and majority groups would have a sense of equity and being.”
He said that if given the opportunity every Nigerian would be critical stakeholder in running the affairs of the nation, adding that he will restore the glory of the country to be at par with Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, China and India.
He promised to use his experience in the private sector, including when he led the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to develop the country.
“I led Nigeria America Chambers of Commerce, lead private sector, got involved in fashioning Vision 2010, Vision 2020, Nigeria political reform, but all that has come to naught because I can’t see the result,” he said.
According to him, his core values are knowledge, industry, integrity, patriotism, justice, freedom and Godliness.
Ohuabunwa pledged to use intelligence gathering and technology to address insecurity in the nation.
He also promised to create job opportunities through Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to address unemployment among youth, as well address poverty.
He said that workers salaries would also be reviewed in line with inflation rate, while revamping agricultural sector for export, and boost the development of solid minerals, oil and gas sectors.