Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai has reiterated that zoning of political offices in Nigeria will lead to inefficiency, warning that “no country progresses with such an arrangement.”
Governor el-Rufai who spoke at the Nigerian Economic Summit (#NES26) in Abuja posited that there is no country in the world within the last 50 years that has made any significant progress based on the principle of zoning of leadership roles or political offices.
He argued: “There is no country in the world that has made progress in the last 50 years that rotates its leaders. I think if we move away from this fixation about distribution to selecting or picking the best person to get the job done… when the job is done, everybody benefits.
“Right now, we are distributing this and we are not making any progress because the focus is on distribution.”
According to el-Rufai, who was a minister of the FCT and DG of BPE, respectively during the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo ” every qualified person should be given equal opportunity to contest for political positions”.
“In my honest view, Nigeria went wrong when we focused on distribution rather than production. We like to distribute and it has gone as far as saying that in a state, governorship should rotate; that is absurd”, he declared flatly.
It would be recalled that with the 2023 presidential, National Assembly, governorship and various other elections just about three years to the time frame set for holding such polls, the fierce battle for political offices across parties have been quite intense.
This clamour is premised on the political permutations that political offices especially the presidency have always rotated among or between geo-political zones. It would be recalled that in 1999 the two major political parties at the time, the PDP and the defunct AD, zoned the presidency to the South-West geo-political zone.
Under that framework, both Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Olu Falae emerged as presidential candidates of both parties. Obasanjo who won the election, was succeeded by late Umaru Yar’Adua from North-West but roughly a few years into his presidency, he died in office.
He was succeeded by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan from South-South. Jonathan later served out the remaining tenure of Yar’Adua, and got elected for another four years. In 2015, Jonathan was defeated by General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC from North-West who is currently the president and commander-in-chief.
However, el-Rufai in his presentation at the Nigerian Economic Summit (#NES26) in Abuja postulated that Nigeria has failed to make impressive progress over the years on account of her recurring culture and tradition of rotating political leadership roles or offices.
He said: “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.”
“In my honest view, Nigeria went wrong when we focused on distribution rather than production. We like to distribute and it has gone as far as saying that in a state, governorship should rotate; that is absurd.
“We can’t have a country with 90 percent of our population below the age of 40 all ruled by old people like me,” he added.
“We must have young people in government being trained to take over from us.” He noted that it is when Nigeria begin recognize the fact that there is need “to give every society a framework of equal opportunity to take advantage of and prosper” that the country would make significant progress.