2023: El-Rufai backtracks, says zoning bad for Nigeria’s progress
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has said Nigeria’s preference for recruiting its leaders through a rotatory zoning arrangement has kept the country stagnant for decades.
Mr. El-Rufai argued at the Nigerian Economic Summit on Wednesday that irrespective of the logic behind rotating political positions in the country, the system should be done away with and focus redirected to sourcing for the best hands across the board.
“There is no country in the world that has made progress in the last 50 years that rotates its leaders, Mr. El-Rufai said at the summit held in Abuja yesterday. “I do not believe that we should be driven in our politics and economics by distribution whether or not there is a logic behind it.”
The governor, who had only three months ago endorsed the advocacy to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South, added: “I think we should move away from this fixation about distribution to selecting or picking the best person to get the job done.”
“Right now, we are distributing this and we are not making any progress,” he said.
There have been heightened calls for the ruling APC and opposition PDP to narrow the search for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor to the southern part of the country.
Mr. El-Rufai had firmly thrown his weight behind this demand, while advising the Northern elite to not contest in the 2023 presidential election.
“In Nigerian politics, there is a rotation system, where everyone agrees that if the north rules for eight years, the south will rule for eight years,” Mr. El-Rufai told the BBC Hausa service in August.
“That is why I came out and said that after President Buhari’s eight-year term, no northerner should run for the Presidency. Let the southerners also have eight years,” he stated.
Mr. El-Rufai’s contradictory stance on zoning could reinforce the belief that the Northern power blocs may be unprepared to relinquish power upon expiration of President Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
Works and housing minister Babatunde Fashola had warned the APC not to breach the zoning arrangement, which he tagged a “private agreement” for power shift to the South in 2023.
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