Former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang has faulted zoning arrangement between North and South and called for a review by political parties to reflect the reality on the ground in Nigeria, saying the far North has been unfair to the Middle Belt.
He added that that far North has never seen the Middle Belt as an integral part of the North even as he said appointment and removal of Service Chiefs are prerogative of the president.
Speaking with newsmen in Jos, Jang said zoning of the presidency by political parties has always been among the major tribes in the country while the minorities are sidelined and never have much say in the selection process.
“I am not a believer of rotation and I will tell you why before I answer your question, there is nothing like rotation in the 1999 Constitution as amended but political parties do it for convenience. But if you look at it anytime the presidency comes to the North because most parties have adopted North and South arrangement.
“If rotation is what Nigerians want, then the political parties must review it. When I was running for the presidency I went to see one of the top leaders in this country, it has always been rotation among the major tribes except Jonathan that got it because of the death of the late President Yaradua, I call it an accident because even to allow him to act before the death of President Yaradua was a war.
“What I was told by that leader was that as good as I may be, he could not see how a Christian minority can win the election in Nigeria, this is the first time I am saying this out because the time has come for us to speak out. So if we are going to continue with the rotation of presidency it has to be among the North, Middle Belt and the South, otherwise, no Middle Belter minority can rule this country, it is like the chapter for the minority to rule this country is closed if restructuring is not done.
“If political parties do not review this rotation arrangement, the Middle Belt cannot be joined with the North, it is unacceptable to us. The North means North West, we are not part of the Northern rotation, we want the presidency in the Middle Belt if possible in 2023,” he said.
On the call for the removal of Service Chiefs, Senator Jang who said their appointments and removal is prerogative of President Mohammadu Buhari, however, stated that his major concern has been their continued stay in service which makes it difficult for the young ones to move up.
“I have no quarrel with Mr President if he decides to keep Service Chiefs as long as he wants. My only area of concern is that if people are due for retirement and they are not retired it becomes difficult for the young ones to move up.
“If Service Chiefs move out when they are due for retirement or they are changed in accordance with the prerogative of Mr President vacancies are created and adjustment is made and promotions are done. Today the Service Chiefs have not retired, they have not retired themselves, it means people are just being promoted to keep the place quiet.”
According to him, there were quite a lot of retired generals and senior military personnel that could offer useful advice to the federal government on how to curb insurgency ravaging the north and other criminal acts across the country but added that they were never consulted.
“We are not consulted, perhaps if they didn’t consult me because I have become a politician, there are many retired generals and senior military officers that have enough experience that can advise on the best way to tackle the insurgencies.”
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