Nigerian journalist and columnist, Fredrick Nwabufo, has advised political parties in the country to zone presidential tickets to the axis of competence, character and capacity and not on a rotational basis to different regions.
Nwabufo while appearing on Village Square Africa TV, said zoning the presidential ticket is the same problem the country has been having, selecting leaders based on sentiments, religion and ethnicity.
There has been clamour in different parts of the country for the presidential tickets of political parties to be zoned to a particular region, particularly the South-East region.
But Nwabufo said zoning based on sentiments has not done the country any good.
He said, “It is an interesting time; I believe we will have an election in 2023 where an incumbent president will not be running, and it makes it much more interesting because it is an open ticket.
“Any party or anybody can take it because the power of incumbency is limited in this case. We have clamours for political parties to cede the presidential ticket to the south, and of course, it has been a back and forth. There are arguments for and against that.
“Personally, I believe what we should be talking about now is competence. Political parties should zone their presidential tickets to the geography of competence.
“If I should rephrase that, political parties should zone their presidential tickets to the axis of competence, capacity and character.
“This is the problem we have had over the years. We emphasise ethnicity and religion. Some of the presidential hopefuls that have shown interest have been toeing that path.
“We have a problem of putting emphasis on what should be secondary and not on primary matters of competence, character, ability, antecedents and proven track record — which should ordinarily be the issues that should guide the 2023 elections.
“But unfortunately, we are seeing religion and ethnicity being the topmost issues in this season. The questions are — what has zoning done for us over the years? How has zoning changed Nigeria?
”The problem is when you cede a presidential ticket to a particular zone on the basis of ‘it is our turn’, the person who is coming to contest is coming to represent his region and not Nigerians.
“We should be talking about a Nigerian president not an Igbo president. That is why I totally repudiate the phrase — Igbo presidency — it is wrong to say Igbo presidency. These are some of the things we need to correct.
“We need a Nigerian president not a president of the south-east, the south-west or the north. The president will represent all Nigerians; that will be for all Nigerians.
“We have been through this path before. When you start ceding or start amplifying ethnic agenda and issues, the person who emerges will want to favour his own side of the country because he believes that he is at the presidency to represent his region.”