BY SAKA BOLAJI -Minna
Barely 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan declared his intention to contest in next year’s election, Niger state governor and chairman Northern States Governors Forum, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has thrown his full weight behind his aspiration for 2015 presidential election, saying other zones clamouring for same opportunity should be patient till 2019 when the president must have completed his mandatory tenure of two terms .
The governor gave his position on the controversy surrounding the eligibility of President Jonathan for next year election in an interactive session with members of the press in commemoration of his 59th birthday last Wednesday, at his personal house in ,Minna.
He noted that though some zones have angled to take over from the President based on some perceived agreement entered into by President Jonathan, believing, however, that since the party has conceded the slot to the President, all loyal PDP members should queue behind the party decision.
According to him, the South-East zone is also claiming the next slot, but going by the North/South rotation, the North should take the next turn, while the South –East should be patient to take over after the North.
“The crave for a particular zone on presidency was as a result of political problem, without taking cognizance of death. But the Constitution expressly allows the Vice President to take over in view of such situation as death. Unfortunately, parties that have no zoning arrangement in their Constitution cry more than the bereaved.
“There was a time people speculated that there was an agreement. Aside that, the party said the incumbent should continue and he was overwhelmingly endorsed by party organs and members, that is what we have at the moment. By 2019, the North would take over.
“Remember, the South-East is also clamouring for Presidency, but as it is, the rotation is North and South”.
On the 30,000c polling units recently announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC , which Nigerians believed were skewed in favour of the North, the governor was of the opinion that the increment were desirable, saying, however, that the Public Relations Unit of INEC should have explained to Nigerians before the actual implementation.
“The polling units were to take care of those who were less than 18 years as at the 2011 elections. But INEC should have educated the people before the pronouncement . I could remember there were over 3,000 voters in some polling units in Kano. So, there was the need to take care of those by creating additional units in order to allow for maximum of 500 voters in any particular polling unit as sanctioned by law.
“I think INEC has done the right thing, but, the Public Relations Unit did not do much education enlightenment for the people before implementation”.
Reacting to the accusation that the Northern governors were not doing much to curtail the deadly menace of the Boko Haram, governor Aliyu defended himself and his colleagues Northern governors, saying”we have been doing something to assuage the situation”.
He lamented that the governors could not do much because they don’t control the security apparatus, stressing that the only much they could do was to support and cooperate with the federal government efforts in tackling the bloodletting menace by the insurgents, both in the North-East and any part of the country experiencing security dislocation.
On whether elections should hold in those places where there are security problems, governor Aliyu believed that before the elections, government would have curtailed the situation, but, if not, “the doctrine of necessity should take place”.