A don has said that although the zoning of political offices is not in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, as amended, it ensures equal rotation of political power in the states and across the country.
Prof. Jonah Onuoha, the Head, Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said this in an interview in Nsukka .
Onuoha, who spoke on zoning of elective positions by political parties, said that it was a strategy or arrangement by members of political parties to ensure a fair rotation of power among members.
He said that if zoning was not in place, few wealthy members of the political party would continue to rule others forever.
“Zoning of elective positions by political is not on our constitution but it ensures fair rotation of power to geopolitical zones, senatorial districts, constituencies and wards. Without zoning, areas with more population or wealthy politicians will continue to rule others forever.
“In spite of the the fact that zoning is not in the constitution, political parties since 1999 have been using it to rotate power across the country,” he said.
Onuoha, who is also the Director, Centre for American Studies in UNN, expressed his disagreement with opinions in some quarters that zoning enthroned mediocres or allowed unqualified people to be elected during elections.
“I disagree with people who say zoning makes it possible for mediocres and unqualified people to be elected, because I believe that in every part of this country we have many people who are qualified to hold any elective position.
“Weather zoning or no zoning electing of unqualified people occur when political-money-bags and God-fathers hijack the process of choosing candidates for political parties,” he said.
He described as unfortunate a situation whereby some politicians in a particular area, after benefiting from zoning arrangement, turned around to oppose it by saying that “zoning is unconstitutional”.
“When these politicians are benefitting from zoning, the arrangement is not unconstitutional but when it is the turn of another people it becomes unconstitutional,” he said.
Onuoha advised politicians in the country to be honest and always show the spirit of sportsmanship by respecting a gentleman’s agreement, either oral or written, as the country’s constitution would not capture everything.