Why zoning doesn’t fascinate PDP, by Ortom
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has explained why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is playing down on zoning for political office holders, especially at the presidential level.
He stated that after 20 years of the country’s democratic experience, some PDP stakeholders only prefer credible candidates to zoning.
Speaking at the weekend in Makurdi after arrival from Abuja, where he attended PDP meetings, Ortom stressed that the agitation for zoning by some Nigerians was driven by marginalisation and poverty.
According to the governor, America, where Nigeria borrowed its presidential system of government, does not zone political offices, but looks for the best man for the job at each point. He wondered why some people were against the model.
His words: “I have always said that zoning is good, but it is driven by the marginalisation and level of poverty among the people. Some people tend to believe that if you zone a position to their place, they may have the opportunity of getting their own share of the (national) cake.
“But beyond that, if you look at America, from where we borrowed the presidential system of government, they don’t do zoning. George Bush was President of America at a point two of his sons were governors. One of the sons later became the President of the country.”
For Ortom, the zoning thing arose from the recent challenge that from the North and South – governors in the South and North giving their divergent views about what should happen next.
“If you listen very well to what Nigerians are saying, you would understand me. Nigerians are saying that zoning is not the problem of Nigeria, that we should look for the best; somebody who can deliver.
“Yes from former President Goodluck Jonathan, we zoned to the North and President Muhammadu Buhari is there. Tell me, are you getting dividends of democracy? Has the country been secure? Have we been able to improve the economy of this country?”
Have we been able to improve the education sector or the infrastructure of this country? That is the problem. So, you don’t clamour for zoning and do micro zoning and go to look for anyone who doesn’t add value to the development of the country.”
On the PDP’s decision to jettison zoning, Ortom said there was nothing wrong with that, especially as it was the popular decision of the people.
“But I think nobody is against what my committee did. We all accepted it and we are working towards it. By the grace of God, PDP is good to go, because we are confident and we know that the country is waiting for the PDP to provide leadership.
“We made some mistakes in the past until 2015. But now PDP has apologised and we are willing to move forward from there, and by the grace of God, we shall come out stronger, better and victorious,” the governor added.