Tuesday, December 19, 2017 8:27 am
By Richard Elesho/Lokoja
A former Acting Governor of Kogi State and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Clarence Olafemi has given reasons why he is against micro-zoning of elective positions. He said his opposition is not born out of selfishness, but because the initiative is against the party’s constitution and encourages laziness.
Olafemi gave the clarification in Lokoja Tuesday while fielding questions from journalists. Olafemi whose interest in the People’s Democratic Party ticket for the forth coming Kogi West Senatorial election is generating ripples in the camp of the proponents of micro-zoning, said the arrangement kills participatory democracy.
“Our constitution encourages participatory democracy. When every qualified person is allowed to contest, then people will be able to chose the best among them. But if you bar people simply because they don’t come from a particular village it makes mockery of democracy and I will not be a party to that.”
“Who told you there is rotation? I have been in politics for Forty years. I cannot recall any meeting where we sat down to decide on micro-zoning. In 2014, the Okun Development Association, ODA attempted to meet on zoning. I did a Six-page petition to them telling them why you cannot rotate or shear political offices in a multi-party system. As a non-political organization it is senseless. I made them realize that every political party will want to pick its candidate from where it thinks it can win. The ODA saw sense in my submission and the meeting did not hold. Why don’t you leave politics to the politicians?” Olafemi noted that some of the people talking of zoning are simply being hypocritical.
“Since they have been contesting and Ijumu have gone three times now, was there a time Yagba people did not contest? Why are they suddenly talking about rotation now because Olafemi is in the race? My own party, the PDP said there is no micro-zoning because it jettisons quality representation. In fact, it narrows down to the same imposition and impunity which we say we don’t want again. Why must you. Zone a position to the bedroom of an unqualified person?”
“There are three laws that regulate participatory democracy in this country. They are the 1999 constitution as amended, the Electoral Act as amended and the party’s constitution or electoral guidelines. As long as I have not breached any of these laws, nobody or group of persons can seat in one small corner and say you want to impose any narrow minded view on me. I will not take it. I did not take it in 2003. I did not take it in 2007. I will not take it now. Who knows what God has for me!”
The former Speaker said zoning is undemocratic, kills talent, competence, and should therefore be rejected by all right thinking persons.