News / Africa

Nigeria’s Ruling Party Meets to Decide on Zoning Arrangement

Nigeria’s ruling party has scheduled what it calls a crucial meeting to decide whether or not to drop its controversial zoning arrangement.  Under zoning, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rotates power between the North and South.

The arrangement has come under intense criticism by northern politicians opposed to the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner.  But many from the South are pressuring him to run, although under zoning the next candidate would be a northerner.

The current effort by the PDP to resolve the controversy is too little, too late, according to Innocent Chukwuma, who heads the Cleen Foundation, a voter outreach NGO based in Lagos.

He says the party should have taken a position before the topic became a distraction to the smooth running of government.

“I think it is coming so late in the day, after the atmosphere has been poisoned and people’s positions have hardened basically, and which is unfortunate because if it was a party that cares for the views of its members, this is what it should have done earlier in the day,” he said.

But the party disagrees. Officials say the controversy over the whereabouts and eventual death of former president Umaru Yar’Adua made it impossible to deal with the issue until now.

Chuwkuma agrees with critics who say scheduling a meeting to discuss the zoning controversy is a ploy by party leaders to put an official stamp on the ambitions of President Jonathan.  The party disagrees.  Officials say any qualified Nigerian can run for any position but it is essential to take a position on the zoning issue to preserve party unity.

“If you remember, PDP chairman [Okwesilieze Nwodo] is not a neutral person in this whole debate," he said. "A few weeks ago he did say that zoning was dead in 1998, so if it was dead why are they organizing a meeting on Thursday to discuss it?  It’s this kind of insincerity and perfidy that makes people not to believe the whole arrangement.”

But Mr. Nwodo says under his leadership, the PDP will be transparent and democratic in all its affairs.  He says the ongoing effort is intended to re-position the party for next year’s elections.

President Jonathan has not announced that he is a candidate for next year’s election.  His supporters say the Nigerian constitution gives him the right to run.

Chuwkuma says even among those who support zoning, nobody says there is any specific constitutional provision on the issue.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid