3rd January, 2022
By Abiodun Esan
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, has described the clamour for zoning of political offices in the country as a failure of leadership.
Oyedepo, on Monday in Ilorin, lamented that zoning was an unfortunate development.
“Zoning is an unfortunate development; it is also a result of the failure of leadership, particularly in Kwara State. I know it is general in Nigeria, but we are talking about Kwara State now.
“It is very unfortunate. If those people governing us since 1999 for example, have governed well, people would have forgotten some variables in Kwara politics,” he said.
Oyedepo, a lawyer, said one of the variables that bad leadership brought into the limelight was religion, noting that “religion is personal between you and Almighty God.
“Whether you are Christian or Muslim, the situation or condition of hunger is the same. Poverty doesn’t isolate a Christian from a Muslim.
“Another variable that good leaders should not have brought up is the issue of ethnicity; that one could have been totally erased and there would be no reason for zoning.
“For example, I don’t really care whether a man from Ilorin is in the saddle of authority provided he is fair and just.
“If I could get whatever I need in my own area from the man from Ilorin, what is my business about his religion or ethnic orientation?
“Same thing with the Kwara North, but I can understand the north, they have suffered perennial neglect for a very long time,” he added.
Oyedepo, who is the Chairman of Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, lamented that Kwara North was the least developed zone in the state.
“They believe that it is when one of their own is there that they can get development, I may be wrong, but that is their thinking.
“I am expecting a time when the issue of zoning would become a thing of the past in Kwara politics and we will move to the issue of competence, capacity, integrity and character.
“These are the things that should govern leadership and not zoning,” the APC chieftain stressed.
Oyedepo said that the argument of the North was that since 1999, the South has done eight years.
“This is factual; they argued that the Central, by the end of Gov. AbdulRazaq’s tenure, they would have done 16 years, when would it be their own turn? That is their argument,” he said.
Oyedepo, who said the people of Kwara North were entitled to their opinion, however, declared that such opinion was not supported by law.
“There is nothing in the constitution that says that you must compulsorily rotate elective positions, but a convention.
“That kind of convention is necessary in a multi-ethnic society like Kwara,” he said.
The APC chieftain said that what the Kwara North political leaders must do was to work hard, adding that the governorship position is not served on a platter of Gold.
“They should struggle for it. Despite their reasonable claim, they should work hard,” Oyedepo advised.
According to Oyedepo, no single zone in the state can produce the governor without the cooperation of one or the other two zones.
“No single zone can produce a governor; it is not possible in Kwara. Before one can become a governor in Kwara, he will need the cooperation and support of the two zones apart from his own.
“So, if Kwara North wants to produce the governor, they should work hard to secure the confidence of one or the other two zones,” Oyedepo said.