Northern Elders Forum Asked To Drop Zoning Campaign

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LAGOS, August 04, (THEWILL) – The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) has been told to drop its campaign that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should zone the presidential ticket to the North in the 2011 General Elections.

A chieftain of the ruling party, Alhaji Omar Yusuf Ayelabegan said this at a news conference he addressed at the Ladi Lawal Press Centre in Lagos while kicking against the campaign for zoning the presidency to the North in the 2011 General Elections.

He also added that President Goodluck Jonathan "should be allowed to contest if he indicates interest to contest the presidential election."

The chieftain explained that the election "Would enable Jonathan to test his popularity since he joined politics from the academic. President Jonathan has been inheriting positions since he came into politics and will need to test his popularity as an elected leader.

"Jonathan inherited his present position from late president Umar Yar’Adua. He also inherited governorship in Bayelsa State from his boss, Diepreye Alamieyseigha. Let him contest for the 2011 presidential race. My only advice for him is that he should beware of sycophants.

"If we should follow the democratic rule to the letter, there is no reason why we should be talking of zoning at present. Issue of zoning is not in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Those who are calling for this are doing so for their own selfish gains," he said.

Ayelabegan said he would prefer anybody from any part of the country who could proffer solution to the country’s political and economic problems and that sentiment "should not be brought to the issue of leadership. We need to re-examine ourselves."

Ayelabegan also described the call for zoning as the selfish agenda of some people, adding that they were not representing the interest of northern people, stating that by name and geographical location, "Kwara is part of the north and I want to say that those who claim to be representing us are not saying the truth. There was no time they discussed the issue of zoning with us."