Two-term Zamfara State Governor and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Sani Ahmad has said there was no agreement, written or otherwise amongst foundation members of the ruling party for zoning of the presidential ticket or other elective offices in the country.
The former Zamfara State governor remarks are on the heels of comment by former Lagos State governor and incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola that ahead of the next general elections, political leaders should honour gentleman agreement, in their respective platforms.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Senator Yarima who had since declared his interest in the 2023 Presidency said there was no agreement on zoning.
The former Minority Leader and chieftain of the defunct, All Nigerians People’s Party, ANPP, one of the parties that merged to form the APC said he was privy to all the meetings held to form the erstwhile main opposition party and zoning of Presidency was never an issue.
Yarima challenged chieftains of the party with contrary evidence to bring it to the public domain.
He said: “You see, I don’t think there is anything like agreement. You can ask Mr President, he led the group, Asiwaju was there, I was part of it, there was no meeting I didn’t attend or any meeting that I attended that there is such agreement.
“Agreement can’t be verbal, it has to be written. In any case, any agreement that is contrary to the laws of this country is not an agreement. The Constitution is very clear, the Constitution of the political parties, the Electoral Act. We are in a democracy and democracy is governed by processes and procedures and bylaws.
So the Constitution of Nigeria doesn’t recognize anything called zoning and likewise, check APC Constitution. If there is that agreement why didn’t we put it in the Constitution? So nobody will just come and say that there is an agreement, take your Constitution and amend it, but that agreement if there is then nobody will come from another side and work against the Constitution.
“As a democrat, as a citizen of Nigeria, I can aspire based on the laws of Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution has given rights and privilege to every citizen which believes he has something to offer to aspire for any office, irrespective of his state of origin, his tribe, ethnicity, religion; you have right, the Constitution has given us guarantee to participate in the political process.”
Asked if it would be proper to allow another chieftain of the party from President Buhari, not West geopolitical zone to succeed him, the former Zamfara State governor insisted that nothing in the Nigerian Constitution preclude or declared him ineligible to seek the exalted office after President Buhari.
“Can I give you an example of America, George Bush (Snr) was President, George Bush (Jnr) became President. They form the same family, not from the same state, not from the same zone. “This is a democracy, if Nigerians decide to vote for Yarima, so be it.”
On the pervasive farmers/ herders clashes across states in the country, Senator Yarima advised that government must be determined to implement existing laws in the statutes, without fear or favour.
He maintained that strict adherence to rules would inspire mutual confidence amongst the ethnic groups in the country.
“Justice and fairness. Once there is equity, justice and fairness you will not have any clash between any group, tribal or ethnic.
“Government has to be firm in implementing laws, rules and regulations. Once there is no implementation of the laws, rules and regulations, you have this clashes but if everybody knows that this is prohibited and this what you can do as a farmer or as herdsmen there will be no problem.
“Grazing areas in the north are clearly demarcated but some farmers encroached the grazing area and which used to cause a crisis because people are not observing the rules and regulations of the states.
“So, once laws are properly enacted and implemented there will be no crisis so every leader has to be just and fair to all just as we always swear by the Constitution. You see in this country, it is amazing for people like I said don’t read their Constitution, they don’t even know. I think there has to be part of the political system of Nigeria from the secondary school level for people to know their Constitution.”