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
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
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.