Zoning: Who Do Nigerian Politicians Want as Buhari’s Successor?

April 5, 2022

Ordinarily, the most important quality you’d expect of someone hoping to become the president of a country of over 200 million people is that they’re smart. It helps if they also have swag or can pretend to be a hairdresser, but it’s critical that they’re a problem-solver and know what they’re doing.

Also helps if they can create memes.

After eight years of Buhari, Nigerians will get the chance to choose a new president in 2023. With less than one year to go before that decision is made, a pattern is starting to emerge about what will be the most important quality of the person that takes over. 

On the list of priorities that have been considered by those in political circles, regional identity sits at the top. Since President Buhari is a northerner, there have been demands that the next president comes from the southern region.

This is what’s called zoning. We’ve already explained what zoning means — an unofficial arrangement to rotate power between northern and southern Nigeria. There have also been calls to micro-zone the position to a geopolitical zone like the southeast region that hasn’t produced a president or vice president since 1999, when zoning first became a thing.

ALSO READ: Primary Elections Are Coming, But What Does Zoning Mean?

The zoning debate has been causing friction within Nigeria’s two biggest parties — the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). We look at what politicians — who have vested interests in where Nigeria’s next president should come from — have said about zoning.

Dele Momodu presidential aspirant

I believe that allowing all aspirants to buy their forms at ₦40 million suggests that the race is open to all, regardless of what part of Nigeria they come from. It’s practically and legally impossible for a political party to disqualify an aspirant on account of zoning after collecting a whopping ₦40 million for services not rendered. I’m expecting a level playing ground for all aspirants.

Governor Nyesom Wike presidential aspirant

We’ve always done zoning in the PDP. You cannot stop it. If the party says they’re zoning to the north, I have no problem. I will obey the party but what I don’t agree with is for people to say that there shouldn’t be zoning.

Hope Uzodinma Imo State governor

Nobody will get a presidential ticket because he spoke good English on television, or abused people on television. It’s the decision of the party and many factors will be responsible. The ticket will be given to a name that can win an election.

I’ll rather see a situation where merit is allowed to drive the process of determining who occupies a public office in the country rather than where you come from. We must use our diversity to strengthen national unity, not to divide the nation.

Donald Duke former Cross River governor

Ordinarily, I’m not a proponent of zoning, but I’m a proponent of equity and that takes precedence to zoning. Beyond that, our country is in a very desperate situation today and you need a leader that’s formidable and can make things right.

Atiku Abubakar presidential aspirant

The PDP has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them. Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria, neither will it be the solution. There’s no such thing as a president from southern Nigeria or northern Nigeria. There’s only one — a president from Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians.

ALSO READ: Who Wants to Be Nigeria’s President in 2023?

Bukola Saraki presidential aspirant

I’m not saying that zoning is not a criterion that must be considered when you talk about where power comes from. What I’m saying is that in 2023, zoning and other issues must be considered. We’re at a defining moment in our history where, aside from where you come from, what also really matters is how to prevent our country from becoming a failed state. As we address the issue of where you come from, we must also put that energy into who and what kind of leadership we need now.

Kingsley Moghalu presidential aspirant

I’m running for President of Nigeria. I’m not waiting until the presidency is zoned to anywhere. I’m running on a vision, not on ethnic identity politics. I’m as good as anyone in Nigeria — north or south — to be President.

Nasir El-Rufai Kaduna State governor

I’ll support any APC candidate if I’m satisfied that he’ll do the best for Nigeria. It doesn’t matter whether he’s from the southwest, southeast or south-south; the APC is what matters and the quality of the person. The discussion we’re having is that the Presidency is zoned to the south.

Iyorchia Ayu PDP chairman

PDP has a history of rotating our offices. Anybody who doesn’t get it this time should wait after the tenure of whoever will be our next president.

Rotimi Akeredolu Ondo State governor

I believe that any party that picks somebody from the north would have to face the whole southern region because they’ll not support it. We’re saying that there must be what I’ll call “rotation”. The justice of it and the fairness in it are what we’re preaching. If President Buhari has been in office for eight years, the next president can’t be from the north.

ALSO READ: Buhari’s Weirdest Decisions We Thought Were April Fool’s Day Jokes But Weren’t

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 27, 2022

It seems like Nigerians aren’t the only ones concerned about the 2023 elections, even our colonisers have taken some interest as well. Considering that our immigration rate to the United Kingdom has increased to 64% in one year, it’s not exactly surprising. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has warned all political parties […]


Now on Zikoko

February 2, 2023

From Lagos to Atlanta, fans never stop comparing and pitting their faves against each other. Just like Rihanna can’t beat the Beyoncé comparisons 17 years into her awe-inspiring career, Davido still gets Wizkid comparisons daily despite just a year between their debut. Similarly, Seyi Shay was compared to Tiwa Savage when she came out with […]

Recommended Quizzes

December 29, 2021

A new year is right around the corner. Before we go into 2022, enjoy some of our top quizzes from this year. 1. QUIZ: Only Nigerian Gen Z’ers Can Make It To The End Of This Musicians Quiz Forget about your age. If you can make it to the end of this quiz, you’re definitely […]

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

November 11, 2019

Today, we are going to be using your taste in music to determine how good you actually are in bed. All you need to do is create the ultimate Nigerian hit — from the lead artist to the producer — and we’ll tell you if all your partners leave satisfied, or if you are just […]

More from Citizen


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.