Zoning is unconstitutional but ensures power sharing – Don
A lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Jonah Onuoha, says that zoning helps to ensure fair rotation of power among the various geo-political zones of the country.
Onuoha, who is the Head, Department of Political Science, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka on Thursday.
He, however, described the policy as an exclusive political arrangement by parties, which is not contained in the Constitution.
He said: “If zoning is not in place, few wealthy members of the political party from one particular zone will continue to rule others forever.
“Zoning of elective positions ensures fair rotation of power to geo-political zones, senatorial districts, constituencies and wards.
“In spite that zoning is not in the constitution, political parties since 1999 have been using it to rotate power across the country.”
Onuoha, who is also the Director, Centre for American Studies in UNN, disagreed with opinions in some quarters that zoning helps to enthrone mediocres and allow unqualified people to be elected into political positions.
“I disagree with people who say that zoning makes it possible for election of mediocres because I believe that in every part of this country we have people who are qualified to hold any elective office.
“Whether zoning or not, the election of unqualified people occur when money-bags and god-fathers hijack the process of choosing candidates for political parties,” Onuoha said.
He described as unfortunate a situation whereby some politicians in a particular area, after benefiting from zoning, turned around to oppose it, 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 to be honest and always show the spirit of sportsmanship by respecting a gentleman’s agreement, oral or written, because the nation’s constitution would not capture everything.