Senator Abdullahi Adamu has joined voices of some northerners who have opposed zoning the presidency in 2023 to the Northern region of the country.
Thus, Adamu, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to zone the presidency to either the Southwest or the Southeast ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja ahead of today’s resumption of the Senate, Adamu said the idea of zoning is alien to the Nigerian Constitution.
“My answer to that is Constitution. There is nowhere in the Nigerian Constitution that says we should zone any public office. There is Federal Character, but not that parties must zone positions for Presidency during elections.
“The Constitution is being reviewed. If you want a specific provision that presidential positions be zoned, you say it, and tell us how you want it to be zoned. Is it going to be from one zone to another?
“You can’t just wish away a situation that is fundamental to a country. You can’t talk of merit and talk of zoning. You can’t. The issue of rotation is out of it. Let’s just go by merit.
“Let every party find a way of selling itself in a manner that will garner the kind of votes that will win the election. It is as simple as that.
“Do we have anything like that in the American Constitution? Are we more democratic than the Americans? It is democracy. Why do you want to change it? It’s wishful thinking only.
“How do you zone it? Yes, somebody is saying the Southeast has not had a President. I agree and I sympathise with them. But the Constitution says you can only become President through the ballot box, and we have been saying it during elections that every vote must count. So, why do you want to zone?”
Speaking on the plan by some state governments to ban open grazing in their domains, Adamu said such a thing should not happen.
The lawmaker representin Nasarawa West District insisted that government at all levels across the country owe it a duty to protect herders as they go about in search of their means of livelihood.
“Every Nigerian has a right to free movement and the right to pursue any legitimate business. It is in the Constitution.
“The fact that a governor or two in the North have said something similar does not take away the right of the herdsmen.
“The duty to protect the herdsman and the farmer rests squarely on the table of the national government, the state governments and the local governments.
“The question is: has the government done what it ought to do to protect the people in that category or in that trade? The answer is no.
“You cannot blame the person who is desperate and looking for a means of livelihood from going to pursue his own goals.
“However, this does not excuse anybody in the course of exercising his right to do harm to another person’s right.
“A farmer has the right to farm. If you take your cattle to his farm and cause damage, he has a right to claim damages and he can make such a claim in the court of law.
“It doesn’t matter. If all the northern governors echo the same thing that the southern governors did, it doesn’t change it. The government owes these herdsmen a duty to protect their calling.
“Yes, there is modernisation. But it is not the fault of the herdsman that he still grazes the same way he has been doing. We have misdirected our political thinking and activism by refusing to tackle the main issue.
“If you can protect a spare parts dealer, why can’t you protect herdsmen? If the government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can protect failing banks, why can’t you protect herdsmen?”
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