Former Governor of Ogun State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Olusegun Osoba, has explained why the ruling party didn’t capture North-South zoning arrangement agreed upon by the party leaders before the 2015 presidential election.
According to Osoba, who was the chairman of the constitution drafting committee of the APC at the time, the gentlemen’s agreement was not drafted in the constitution in order not to go against the fundamental rights of anyone to aspire to any office in the country.
The elder statesman, who turns 82 today, made this known in an interview with The PUNCH.
He also supported the recent call by the 17 Southern governors that the next President should come from the South though some northern groups and governors have insisted on competence, numerical strength of voters ahead of zoning.
But Osoba said, “In a democracy, we allow different opinions but the fragile situation in Nigeria should teach us that not one section can continue to ride roughshod on the other. I believe that the Presidency, for now, for the survival of Nigeria, for the continuation of this country, should rotate between North and South. If you talk of competence, is competence limited to a particular ethnic group or sub-ethnic group?
“During the APC merger, we decided that the President of the party would come from the North, the chairman would be from the South and after eight years, the Presidency would return to the South. In every region, we have millions of people who are competent. So, the idea that merit and competence should be ahead of zoning… what standard is being used to measure competence? I am in total support of the southern governors.
“When we were forming the APC, we agreed that the Presidency would be given to the North and we the progressives in the South-West agreed. The second point of negotiation was the devolution of power, true federalism. So, some who were not there cannot tell us to stop that. I stand on the fact that we should rotate the Presidency between the North and South of the party.”
When asked that the APC has no written constitution on zoning, the ex-governor said, “I was the chairman of the constitution drafting committee of the APC. We drafted the constitution and the reason we didn’t put it into writing is that it could be challenged in court and anything in writing could be seen as going against the fundamental right in the constitution which guarantees the right to aspire to any office in the country. But for the purpose of the survival of the country, we agreed to this but we cannot put it into writing. It cannot be enforced in court but it is an unwritten understanding and for the sake of the continuity of Nigeria, the Presidency should come from the South.”