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REPS HAIL COURT RULING ON ZONING

By NBF News
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Members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives yesterday hailed the ruling of an Abuja High Court on zoning arrangement in the party's constitution.

The ruling, which technically removed hurdles before President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the primaries of the party was described as a milestone in efforts to deepen democracy.

Alhaji Soli Sada Jibia from Katsina State said the judges had demonstrated enough courage to make democracy works in Nigeria.

'The judges are learned people, who deal only with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

'They are conscious of the political current that is taking place in our land and they will not do anything to tamper with the peace of the land, this is understandable, so the ruling should be seen from these perspectives.'

Sada Soli added that what the judges had done was to rule in accordance with the tenets of the constitution of the country and admonished the party to take full advantages therein to present a credible candidate to fly the flag of the party in the next presidential election.

Mr CID Maduabum (PDP Anambra State) lauded the verdict, saying that he was happy that the judges were not mixing the principles of federal character with zoning arrangement. According to him, it had been proved that rotation of offices was constitutional, while zoning was not. By that ruling, Maduabum advised the leadership of the party to take cognizance of the imperatives of federal character and ensured that all parts of the country feel the sense of belonging in sharing of political offices.

'Any government in Nigeria must continue to observe the principles of federal character, Nigeria must remain faithful.

'It is on the basis of federal character that the South-east zone must be allowed to produce the president of this great country. Other zones had had the opportunity of ruling over this country and I think until the South-east is allowed to produce the president, the rotation arrangement is not completed.' Maduabum said he was aware of rotation and not aware of zoning in the constitution.

Mr. Igo Aguma (PDP Rivers State) also hailed the judgment, saying that it would deepen democracy and make political parties more flexible in managing its internal affairs. 'Today, the coast is now clear for President Goodluck Jonathan to compete in the presidential primaries of our great party. Anybody can contest the post of president of Nigeria, irrespective of tribe, religion and your place of birth.'

According to him, the dynamics of life should apply to the running of parties, as what is in vogue today might not be acceptable tomorrow. 'That is why we are saying that PDP of yesterday is not the same thing as PDP of today. We are saying that National Assembly members should be made members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) because it has become imperatives for federal lawmakers to know what is happening in the party.'

Aguma praised the courage of the judges and assured that where traditions fail in bringing changes in the party, members of the National Assembly were ready to put in place laws that would make it happen.