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APCs zoning gaffe: Will it hurt the party?


The ruling APC showed so much disdain to zoning of offices; a principle that helped the PDP to
successfully navigate the murky waters of Nigerian politics and it backfired. EMMA ALOZIE looks at
how that mistake of not zoning offices in a complex country like Nigeria may derail APCs lofty
The ruling All Progressives Congress has encountered many teething problems and has on each
occasion come out of them perhaps stronger. From inception, the party has taken it one step at a
time and has gone through all its headaches without much hassles.
From choosing its national chairman to electing its presidential candidate then to selecting its vice
presidential candidate, the party has always shown the capacity to overcome adversities. This
perhaps lured the party into a false sense of supremacy over tackling many more troubles, without
considering the fact that different problems need different solutions.
However, like many pundits had predicted even before the National Assembly leadership crisis, the
party is going through a strain that if adequate care is not taken, the party may come out of this more
divided than it had envisaged.
Even ranking
members of the party
are unanimous in
agreement that one
of the greatest
mistakes of the party
going into the
National Assembly
leadership was
neglecting the
sanctity of the
principle of zoning
and this backfired.
The party prior to the election in the National Assembly had attempted to zone the principal offices

but that attempt hit a brick wall with a lot of dissentions. The party had then tried to zone the senate
president to the North Central and the speakership to the South West.
This elicited mixed reactions and many disagreements and the party rescinded after so much
pressure from both outside and inside the party hierarchy.
Even the former interim national chairman of the party, Bisi Akande came out to disown zoning
arguing that; Zoning is very, very strange to the APC. There is no zoning in our constitution. We
dont want to copy the PDP in whatever we are doing. We have the best of brains and culture among
our leadership. We want the best for Nigeria. Because of this, we dont want to entertain zoning. It is
true that sometime after the general election, the national chairman wanted to toy with the idea of
zoning and unanimously we said no, we dont want to zone.
Bola Tinubu, the partys national leader shared the same sentiments saying the party would not
compromise merit on the altar of zoning. The nation is expecting us to take a decisive leadership
decision and make one meritoriously. Merit will not be compromised. You have to be competent, you
have to possess the kind of character and attributes of a leader. We have to be pan-Nigerian and be
a very solid character to lead the national assembly and that is what we are talking about.
Let everybody aspire, just like we aspired, your cynicism, no matter what, so you predicted during
our presidential primaries that we are going run into chaotic storm. We put those people to shame
and we came out with the best. Expect the best from us always, he boasted.
And everybody aspired and the party is now worse for that aspiration. The inability of the party to
sort out the zoning headache left it at the mercy of political will power and might and this has hurt the
partys interest to a great measure.
Former governor of Kano State and a chieftain of the party, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso blamed the
current woes in the party on the inability of the party to zone those offices in contention. According to
him, the party leadership allowed so much time to elapse and never reckoned with the G-5
On the issue of what went wrong with our party with regard to the crisis during the election of the
National Assembly leadership, I think so many things went wrong prominent of which has to do with
time. The election was something that has relationship with time and we know very well that we had
so many weeks to prepare ourselves for the elections in the legislative chambers.
I wished time was really taken to ensure that we had a successful election. Although this is not the
time to begin to trade blames, many of us had drawn the attention of our leaders to do the right thing
at the right time. Sometimes, you might decide to do the right thing at the wrong time that will
certainly back- fire.
The leaders of APC may have underrated the members of the G-5 governors and their potential to
do good or to do bad depending on the circumstances. What complicated the whole matter is that
the situation now is that more than 50 percent of Bukola is in PDP. If you take the position of the

senate president it becomes more difficult. The implication is that very soon the leadership of the
senate will start Tambuwalising the party and of course the government as we have seen in 2011,
he stated.
He is not the only one blaming the partys woes on the inability of the party to sort out the issue of
zoning before going into the contest. Timi Frank, the partys deputy national publicity secretary was
harsher in calling for the resignation of the entire National Working Committee of the party arguing
that they stalled in getting the positions in contention zoned at the right time.
The partys national chairman caused it because times out of numbers some of leaders told him to
come up with a zoning formula from the beginning. He was asked to take a decision and let people
follow that but he didnt do that. They were playing hide and seek with the issue until the last minute
when they saw the danger, and they wanted to play hanky-panky, which led us to lose one position
at the Senate.
If my party could not keep to the promise of change, then we must correct them to keep to that. I
have no fear or favour than to say that the current leadership of the party has practically failed. With
this incident alone, the chairman should resign from his position after taking a position against the
people and the peoples position has finally come to stay. In the Western world, by today the partys
national chairman would have resigned honourably. Not just the national chairman but the entire
leadership that took this decision of conducting mock election against the outcry of the larger
members of the party. Against the bigger picture of Nigerians. A hand-full of the party leadership
came to take a decision, and by today the people have shown that the voice of the people is the
voice of God.
You could see the way the party including the national chairman was speaking before the NASS
leadership elections; it showed clearly that the chairman had totally taken sides which wasnt meant
to be. I understand he took some of those decisions based on pressure. In this century, APC as a
party does not need a chairman that will be under pressure, Mr Frank said.
The question on the lips of many APC supporters is will this deliberate zoning gaffe come to hurt the
party in the near future? Only time will tell.