There are fears that APC leaders in the North might renege on the alleged zoning agreement made in 2014.
In the midst of the controversies over the zoning arrangement of the ruling All Progressives Congress for the 2023 presidential election, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has said that the founding fathers of party will speak on the issue next year.
While some founding members left the party during the build up to the 2019 general election, Ngige said nine among the founding fathers are still in the ruling party.
According to Punch, the minister said those still in the party will speak up at the right time to clear the air on whether or not there was a zoning agreement on the 2023 presidential ticket.
He said, “Nine of us are still in the APC. I can’t speak on the issue now. Most of us agreed that we are going to speak next year — from (Bola) Tinubu to Chief (Bisi) Akande, Chief Olusegun Osoba, myself; Tom Ikimi, Yusuf Ali; Ogbonnaya Onu; Danjuma Goje and Senator Wamakko.”
“We will speak next year after we would have done the APC caucus meeting on it. Caucus will agree that we speak on it publicly.”
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) with the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige (right) [BBC] Recently, there have been claims within the party that there was an alleged gentleman’s agreement in 2014 to zone presidency to the South after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
But while announcing his interest to join the 2023 presidential race, a member of the party and former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Sani Yerima recently claimed there was no agreement to zone the presidential ticket to the South.
Owing to claims like this, there have been fears that APC leaders in the North might renege on the alleged 2014 gentleman’s understanding on zoning.
According to reports, the recent call by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on the APC to honour the ‘zoning agreement’ was made due to the perceived plan by northern APC leaders to backtrack on the agreement.
Fashola had said that “The constitution that sets up the climate of political parties’ formation does not prescribe zoning. The truth is that what makes an agreement specification is the honour in which it is made, not whether it is written.
‘‘If it was written there would be no court cases of breach of contract because it’s a document that is written and signed that goes to court. But the private agreement you make with your brother and sister can be breached, (it) is honour.”
In a separate television interview, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi while answering a question on the zoning issue corroborated Fashola’s comment saying, “It is a difficult question for me to respond to. I just believe that the zoning which was done in the North and South should be respected, just like Fashola said.”
It would be recalled that in 2014, three major political parties and aggrieved members of other parties came together to form the APC.
The main parties include; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) while a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) later joined the party.