12th July, 2010
A PDP gubernatorial aspirant in Abia State, Chief Henry Ikoh, has said that no political aspirant should be denied the privilege of contesting for any elective post on the basis zoning.
Ikoh, who made his views known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia, added that such a move was anti-democracy and unconstitutional.
He said that only unpopular candidates insisted on zoning as a result of the stiffer challenges they might face from opponents that were better disposed.
He said that the most important criterion for eligibility for any aspirant should be based on past performance, instead of ethnic or sectional divides, noting that for the countryâ€™s democracy to grow, â€œthat the interest of majority of Nigerians should be allowed to prevail.â€
Ikoh urged President Goodluck Jonathan to hearken to the voices of millions of Nigeria beckoning on him to contest the 2011 Presidency in order to continue the good work he had started.
He said that the steps Jonathan had taken to ameliorate the difficulties faced by many Nigerians, especially in the petroleum and power sector were clear indications that the president was the man for the moment.
â€œSince he became president, he has made petroleum products available in every part of the country and the people who no longer find it difficult to access these products are happy and will sure want him to continue.
â€œIf Jonathan decides to contest, I will back him,â€ he said.
The gubernatorial aspirant cautioned those harping on the issue of zoning within the PDP to tread softly, adding: â€œI see those talking about zoning as people who have nothing to offer to the populace.â€
He said that those wishing to contest for elective posts should endeavour to convince the electorate through a well articulated manifesto that would translate to meaningful development, instead of stampeding Nigerians into non-existing zoning agreement.