Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the 1999 constitution doesn’t recognise zoning as championed by some Southern groups.
Abubakar made this known on Friday at a meeting with members of a group, ‘Let’s Fix Nigeria’ with Atiku, who were on a solidarity visit to his residence in Abuja.
The former vice president said that the constitution gives all candidates the chance to contest in the 2023 presidential election, adding that nobody can bar them from joining the presidential race.
Atiku disclosed he was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the 1999 Constitution and there was nothing like zoning in the document.
However, the Waziri of Adamawa recalled how he bought the idea of zoning in the PDP during a discussion with a former vice president, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, saying Nigerians should choose competence over zoning.
He expressed confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would adopt the indirect primary, which he said was not only the most efficient but also the least expensive mode of the selecting candidate.
The PDP chieftain said the indirect primary also allowed the politically enlightened members of the party to make important decisions for the party.
He said, “Fundamentally, the Constitution says all of us can run. The Constitution has not barred any one of us. There is no zoning in the Constitution; there is none. I was a member of the constituent assembly that drafted the current Constitution and there was nothing like that.
“But then, as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, we felt that there should be a sense of belonging. We went and invented this zoning.
“Therefore, we went further to say there should be zonal representation. So, let me assure you that as far as I am concerned, I will observe and implement whatever will bring about the peace and stability of this country.
“Leadership is endowed by God. You can have a young man come and do better than an old man. So, it is an endowed attribute from God, therefore, we should try to look for such a person who has been endowed by God, who has those attributes and then give him leadership.“