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Mark,Bankole May loose out 2011 PDP 2011 Zoning

The Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, are among top political office-holders that may likely lose their positions if the preliminary zoning formula being worked by the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government scales through.

The new zoning formula being prepared by the Presidency showed that the three zones where the above officers hail from will not keep such positions in the next dispensation.

Already, Mark and Bankole have won the party’s primaries in their respective constituencies.

Mark is next to the Vice-President in the order of protocol, while Bankole is the fourth in hierarchy.

Depending on the zone where the president comes from, the office of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives have always rotated between the North and the South.

While the President’s area (between the North and South, in this case) takes the office of the Senate President, the Speaker goes to the Vice-President’s area as well.

When President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power, the office of the Senate President was zoned to the South for eight years, whereas the office of the Speaker remained in the North.

However, when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua assumed office, the office of the Senate President moved to the North, where he hailed from, while the office of the Speaker was zoned to the South.

“You can see that the trend has always been that the Senate President must come from the area of the President, while the Speaker will go to that of the Vice-President,” a presidency source confided to our correspondent on Saturday.

Ahmed, on his own, is not contesting any elective office, but sources close to him said he would have picked a form to run for the Senate if not for the hope he was said to have had that the office of the SGF would still be zoned to his area.

Presidency sources said all these officers were in for the shock of their lives if the zoning arrangement eventually scaled through. For example, the North Central zone where Mark comes from (he is Benue State) is to produce the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The South-West, where Bankole hails from, has been tentatively pencilled down to produce the next Senate President.

Under the new arrangement, the South-East will also produce the SGF and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, while the South-South is to produce the President and the deputy national chairman of the PDP.

The North-East, which comprises Bauchi, Adamawa, Zamfara, Gombe, Yobe and Borno states, has been allotted the offices of Deputy Senate President and the national chairman of the PDP.

The North-West, where Vice-President Namadi Sambo hails from, will not have any other top position to be filled apart from the office of the VP.

The party’s constitution stipulates that political offices must be zoned among the six geo-political zones of the country. Specifically, Article 7.2 (c) of the PDP constitution reads, “In pursuit of the principles of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of the party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels.”

When the debate over the issue of zoning became fiercer following the death of Yar’Adua, President Goodluck Jonathan had insisted zoning could only take place when the party had produced the president.

The President spoke with journalists when he came to pick his nomination and expression of interest forms to enable him to contest the party’s presidential primary at the party’s headquarters in Abuja on September 27, 2010.

He said, “The issue you asked about (zoning), this is the first time I have to comment on zoning. I have decided not to talk about it, but at the appropriate time, you will know a little more.

“But either by virtue of the PDP constitution, or in practice, the presidency of Nigeria has never been zoned to any part of this country. It has never been zoned and maybe I would read some sections of our own constitution to you.

“There is a concept of zoning and rotation in the PDP constitution to encourage power to move from one part to another and it is not limited to the office of the President.

“From the least office, that is, from the councillorship to the presidency to encourage rotation and the issue of zoning in PDP, PDP does not zone the presidency but PDP zones offices over which they have absolute control or reasonable control.

“The fact also is that the chairman of the party, deputy chairman, national secretary, these are offices that PDP has absolute control and normally PDP would zone.

“The office of the President and other elective offices like senate president, speaker and National Assembly officers, PDP has reasonable control as long as we are in the majority.”

However, attempts to reach out to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Ahmed Akali, to speak on the zoning formula failed as he did not pick the many calls to his phone.

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