In what seems to be a follow up reaction to the recent meetings of the southern Governors which resulted in the unanimous ban of open grazing and the call for true federalism, the northern Governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors Forum met and unanimously submits that it is opposed to any form of rotational presidency and the call by the southern Governors that power should shift to the south come 2023. The position of the northern Governors although backed by the constitution is totally antagonistic to the unity of the country.
Since the return of power to civil rule in 1999, there had been an unwritten agreement between the north and south of Nigeria about rotational presidency. Although the death of President Umar Yar’adua nearly disrupted the agreement, it was realigned with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and his reelection in 2019.
A statement by the Chairman of the forum and the Governor of Plateau state, Simon Lalong, states that not withstanding the comments of some norther governor’s that power should shift to the three geo-political zones in the south in order to promote peace and unity in the country, “the Forum unanimously condemn the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South.
“The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected President shall:- score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation.”
We are sure that the governors are aware of the fragility of the peace and security of the country, and that a gesture that shows that all parts of the country are carried along would go farther to establish a one indivisible country we have always advocated on this platform. We presume that their opposition and sudden recourse to the constitution in matters of power rotation is a move in the game to place the north in a comfortable position for bargain. If that is the case, then it is understandable. However, if it is anything otherwise, then it is rather unfortunate.
The position of the northern Governors is a reiteration of the voices from the north on the subject of power shift by 2023. The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had in July rejected power shift to the south. The northern elders said the region would not be threatened, intimidated or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office, as the region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he comes from.
The Forum’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said as far as the North was concerned, that idea is not acceptable. For the NEF, the decision of the Southern governors is seen “as an expression of sentiment that could be best discussed within a political process. We are running a democratic government and decisions over where the next president comes from are basically decisions that will be made by voters exercising their rights to choose which candidate best serves their interest.”
While it is rather too early for such debates and discussion on who and what part of the country takes charge of the presidency in 2023, the tone of our politician on the matter is rather disturbing and heating the political space. Nigerian would appreciate if the governors are more concerned and committed to bringing the dividends of democracy to the people, alleviate the suffering of the less previledged, activate policies and programmes that would boost the economy and attract foreign direct investment in to the country. To dwell on such matters as power rotation at the moment should be for idle politicians.
Aside from the activities of the “unknown gunmen” in southeast, the region relatively enjoys a sense of security compared to the north where bandits terrorise almost every states in that part of the country. Impact News, like most Nigerians would appreciate the governors if they focus their energy in unanimously proffering workable solution to tackling the menace of insecurity in the north, that has not only affected lives in that part of the country but affected food security in the nation as a whole.
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