A former Chairman and National Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, has said that the party constitution allows zoning of political offices.
Mr Baraje, the new ‘Tafida of Ilorin’, made this known on Wednesday while addressing journalists in his residence in Ilorin preparatory to his coronation by the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, on Friday.
The Tafida said zoning was clearly stated in the amended constitution of PDP for the purpose of giving sense of belonging to all members of the party.
“It’s not in the constitution of PDP before, but it is now clearly stated in the PDP constitution that zoning should be respected.
“There is a caveat in the constitution which say that zoning should be respected for the purpose of giving sense of belonging to all members of the party and for all inclusiveness except and only when a resolution of the National Executive Council (NEC) decide otherwise,” he said.
“It is stated in the constitution black and white, it was reviewed in the constitution sometime around 2011. Although, before then, it was an oral tradition of PDP and it was even as good as being written.
“I met it like that when I took over as party National Secretary in 2008. Even when it was an oral tradition of the party, it was highly respected.
“It was formally included in our party constitution in 2011 when we were reviewing the party constitution before I left in 2011,” the ex-chairman explained.
Mr Baraje, however, said that he was not sure that former vice president, Atiku, was talking of PDP constitution on zoning.
“I think what His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku, was talking about was Nigeria constitution not PDP, if I got him right, he said ‘zoning is not in Nigeria constitution’”.
The former PDP chairman also supported zoning the presidency to the North Central, having not produced number one citizen since independence.
He however cautioned that the campaign for zoning should not be over-flogged in order not to further divide the country.
Mr Baraje described the chieftaincy title as a “great honour and fulfillment” to been recognised in one’s hometown.
He added that It came to him as a surprise because he never expected such title and pledged to serve his people and discharge his duties effectively
“I went to do my research on Tafida and the role expected of the holder, and I discovered that it emanated from North Africa, Egypt precisely, and it was later adopted by Hausa/Fulani tradition.
“My research also revealed that the full title is ‘Tafida Aiki Seriki’ – it means the service Emir is doing.
“It means a co-traveler of Emir. Therefore, that title is bestowed on an individual that is close to the Emir, understands the tradition and gives his life to the service of the community,” he said.