Nigeria`s ruling party to review power rotation system
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Last Updated: Monday, August 09, 2010, 00:03
Abuja: Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) will meet this week to discuss a controversial clause in its constitution to allow elective offices to be rotated between the predominantly Muslim northern and Christian-dominated southern regions of the country. Going by the agenda of the meeting, the zoning clause may be removed and this would pave way for President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner who took over from late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua, a northerner to contest for elections scheduled for January 2011.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has spoken against the power sharing formula, will chair the key meeting of Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party to be held on Tuesday in Abuja, the capital of the oil rich African country.

The meeting would seek to make the party’s constitution reflect that of Nigeria since critics have dubbed it an unconstitutional document that was made to serve the interest of few powerful elite.

If the party’s constitution is finally changed, it would be sent to the national caucus of the PDP for approval before final approval by the NEC meeting to be held on August 12.

The power sharing formula became subject of debate after the burial of Yar Adua who did not finish his term before developing a life threatening ailment that finally led to his death.

Yar Adua would have contested for 2011 polls and if he had won would have served another four years before a southerner comes in to commence a similar cycle.

Sensing that Jonathan may later indicate his interest to contest for the presidency, politicians started arguing over the relevance of this agreement and whether it is in agreement with the country?s constitution, which says that every citizen has the right to any elective office.

Meanwhile, the president has kept silent over his intention to contest. His last speech on this being an interview to CNN few months back when he said his performance would determine if he will join the bandwagon of aspirants.

With a population of 150 million people, Nigeria which has witnessed military interventions, is the largest democracy in Africa. The country re-established democracy in 1999 and since then presidential elections have been won by the PDP.

Though other parties contest the outcomes of the elections in court, the decisions went in favour of the ruling party.

International observers often say the elections are flawed but Yar Adua had promised to stop election rigging before his death and Jonathan vowed to fulfill the pledge.


First Published: Monday, August 09, 2010, 00:03

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