2023: S’Easterners should contest on merit, not zoning – Ex-Adamawa governor

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Former Governor of Adamawa State, James Bala Ngilari, says the South-East stands a better chance of producing the president on merit than relying on zoning.

He said that the geopolitical zone is populated by many competent persons that are capable of steering the ship of the Nigerian state.

Ngilari, who discouraged the emphasis on zoning in many quarters, said that every qualified and competent Nigerian was “entitled” to the presidency.

The ex-Adamawa governor said that he would support a South-Easterner becoming president but South-East must court the support of other zones to actualise the bid.

“This issue of zoning or no zoning, Southeast or no Southeast, has become a recurring decimal in our political discourse lately,” Ngilari told Sunday Sun.

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“And even before now, it had been. If you ask me whether the Southeast should produce the next president, why not? But the whole thing is not as simple as counting A, B, C or a matter you can do by fiat.

“The Southeast must go around and convince other zones. They must go round and lobby other zones and say you see, we deserve it; it is not only because we are from the Southeast, but because we merit it, we are people who can do it.

“I believe that any Nigerian competent to pull this country forward should be entitled to be president of Nigeria. The Southeast has competent persons capable of being president in this country.

“So, I will support a situation where a South easterner contests on his own merit because he is capable and not because of zoning. Although, you know this issue of zoning or no zoning has been elevated to a level that is in my view, not in the overall interest of Nigeria.

“Why don’t we again concentrate more on bringing up competent persons? And I tell you, from my knowledge of this country and of competent persons that can vie for the office of the president; the Southeast can bring up a whole lot of people who are competent.”

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