Northern Leaders Summit Dump Zoning, Back Jonathan For 2011
ABUJA, July 15, (THEWILL) – Some political leaders from the northern states of Nigeria today met at the International Trade Fair Complex in Kaduna under the auspices of the "Northern Political Summit," unanimously agreeing to jettison the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP controversial zoning arrangement opting instead for an open presidential primaries where any candidate irrespective of their state of origin could vie for the position of president of the oil producing giant.
The summit, which was hosted by Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa canvassed for free and fair elections come 2011 saying that what the country needs now is a president that can deliver good governance and dividends of democracy.
Those who were present at the summit include; Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa (Host), Sen. Abubakar Sodangi, Deputy Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Honourable Usman Nafada, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Ambassador Shehu Malami, Ambassador Hassan Adamu, FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed; Lt. Gen. Saliu Ibrahim, Lt Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi, Gen Lawrence Onoja, Professor Iya Abubakar, Professor Jerry Gana, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, Mr. Labaran Maku, Mr. Usman Wowo, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, Mrs. Sarah Jubril, Mr. Bala Kaoje, Alhaji Tukur Jigamchi, Alhaji Ali Abacha, Senator George Akume
Gen. A.B. Mamman, Dr. Muktar Mansur, Dr. Idi Hong and Mr. Humphrey Abba.
Others include; Mr. Babanginda Nguroje, Mr. Salisu Buhari, Ambassador Isa Maina, Senator Abba Aji, Mr. Sani Ndanusa, Mr. Damishi Sango, Mr. Muktar Yero, Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogo, Alhaji Kaulaha Aliyu, Hon. Clarence Olufemi, Obadayan Audu, Senator Walid Jubril, Mr. Mark Jacob, Senator John Wash-Pam, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Colonel David Dungs, Senator Isaiah Balat, Architect Abubakar Audu, Ambassador Onu Isaac, Mr. Garba Mohammed, Mr. Joshua Dariye, and Mr. Abubakar Audi.
Speaking on the Communiqué issued at the summit, Professor Jerry Gana said, "The summit expressed the strong desire for free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria and called on the Chairman and commissioners of INEC to do everything within their power to ensure preparation for credible elections in Nigeria come 2011.
"The summit also called on governments of the federation to make adequate resources available to the electoral commission to ensure that free, fair and credible elections are conducted in Nigeria.
"There was a strong desire by the summit for every effort to be made to use good governance to bring development to every sector of the economy in the northern part of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, education, industries, employment and uplifting the lives of our people.
On the contentious power sharing arrangement of the PDP, Gana said, "The summit considered the various positions, viewpoints and options together with the related implication to the peace and stability of the country. It resolved that the zoning produced the presidency of Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan was an inseparable ticket, therefore, the demise of one did not invalidate the privileges of the remaining beneficiary of that zoning.
"The summit called on the leadership of the PDP to allow superior provision of the Nigerian constitution to guide the party in producing guidelines and regulations in the conduct of primaries to elect presidential candidate.
"In the circumstances, the most viable option is what has been expressed. First, to ensure that indeed, the conduct of the primaries are such that the best candidates are given the opportunity to run for the office of the president.
"The policy of zoning was adopted by the founding fathers of PDP to resolve the huge crises that followed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election and it was through leadership gatherings of this nature that the questions of power shift and power rotation were peacefully resolved in 1998/1999, " Gana explained.
In his own remark at the summit, the pioneer Chairman of the PDP and a former Governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomar Lar reiterated his former stand that, "As one of the founding fathers of the PDP, I remember clearly the basic considerations of the principle of zoning, and the interim nature of its application.
"Zoning was never meant to be a permanent feature of our democracy. Surely, the day is coming when both our nation and our democracy would become so mature as to make zoning most unnecessary.
"Having tasted the power of civil discussion and dialogue in the resolution of problems, I am a great believer in the wisdom of talking things over, hence my solid support for this summit. This is the beauty of democracy- the freedom of expression."