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2011: JONATHAN NOT AGAINST ZONING FORMULA – MARK

By NBF News
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David Mark.
President of the Senate, David Mark, on Tuesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan would not do anything to jeopardise Nigeria's unity.

Mark, who received a delegation of the Northern Elders Assembly in his office at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, said the President was very mindful of the diverse nature of the country.

The NEA had urged the President of the Senate to prevail on Jonathan 'not to jettison the principle of Federal Character and zoning in the forthcoming general elections in order to preserve the harmony and unity of the federating units of the country.'

Mark however told the delegation that the fears being expressed in some quarters that Jonathan might not uphold the federal character principle and the PDP zoning in appointments or elections into public offices was uncalled for.

He assured that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, would continue to be guided by the constitution and the rule of law.

'We shall do everything within the ambits of the law for the utmost interest of Nigeria and Nigerians,' Mark said.

Urging Nigerians to see the nation beyond ethnic and regional lines, the President of the Senate noted, 'We are all bonded by a common purpose and mission as one indivisible country with a common heritage.'

He added that, 'As elders, we must be nationalistic and open minded in our views and actions so that we can correct the younger generation from deviating.'

Mark admitted that the introduction of the federal character principle in the employment and appointment of citizens into public offices was a worthy development.

'Federal character principle is good but should not be at the expense of merit,' he said.

The NEA team leader, Alhaji Kirfi had earlier urged the present administration to pursue to a logical conclusion, electoral reforms so that credible elections could be held in 2011.

He also enjoined the Federal Government to address the controversies trailing the sale of some public assets.

Although zoning is not in the constitution, the PDP had in 2002 allegedly zoned the presidency to the South for eight years and to the North for another eight years.

The issue of zoning has become a contentious factor, especially since the inauguration of Jonathan as President shortly after the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Former Chairman of the party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor was believed to have stirred the hornet's nest shortly after Jonathan's inauguration, when he told journalists that the President was not eligible to contest the 2011 presidential election.

Ogbulafor, who spoke before his resignation over allegations of corruption, said the president could not contest because the PDP had zoned the 2011 presidency to the north.