Since the advent of civil rule in 1999, no political party has ever ceded the position of the President and that of the national chairman to the same region.
The positions rotate between South and North. From 1999 to 2015, our Southern Nigeria compatriots led this country for 14 years former President Olusegun Obasanjo for two term of four years each South West and former President Goodluck Jonathan for six years four years of his fresh mandate and two years for remaining late Yar’adua’s term in office South South.
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What the Southern Governors Forum (SGF), forget is not new for the Northerners to vote for Southerners for the sake of peace and fairness. What Southern Governors Forum and other politicians still forget is that neither APC nor PDP constitutions are binding upon Nigerians, what only is binding on Nigerians is the country’s constitution.
The 1999 constitution has given rights and privileges to every citizen to aspire any position irrespective of state of origin, tribe, and religion. Really Nigerians have the right to aspire to any office; the constitution has guaranteed citizens to participate in the political process.
No part of the country can produce a president of the country without votes of the other parts. Despite that Northern Nigeria has the highest votes, it cannot produce president without the south’s votes. Is it not funny for the governors’ forum to start talking about power shift while there is still about 913 days to the elections?
Now, it is uncalled for for anyone either individuals or the forum to start call for power shift to certain regions, despite agitators have all risen through the political process not by mare shift of power knowing political offices are not given or acquired by force. politics is about persuasion, not seeking shortcuts to power.
The next general elections may be two years away from now, but the debate about which part of the country should produce APC and PDP presidential candidates has begun to heat up the polity. There is no zoning in the APC constitution, so in PDP what only exists is a gentlemen’s agreement and also, in the Nigerian constitution, there nothing like that.
Even though they reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful coexistence between and amongst its people, the forum unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria should rotate between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region. If they really re-affirmed unity of Nigeria, every group across the country must stop provocative comments or heating the polity.
Rotation is unconstitutional and therefore any group should stop using it to make noise. It is too early for any groups to agitate for 2023 elections. Rather than talk of zoning or rotational presidency politicians and Nigerians should always consider voting quality leaders during elections, instead of focusing on zoning.
To be fair to Southern Governors Forum (SGF) before it started the agitations on the likely transfer of power to Southern part of the country in 2023 elections, the president’s nephew, Mamman Daura started it just one year into PMB’s second term in office in July 2020. He had argued that rather than zoning the ticket, competence should be given priority in the choice of the presidential candidate of the APC in 2023. Even though the ruling party and the Presidency dissociated themselves from the comment, many stakeholders saw it as a ploy by some who have arrogated power to themselves above of the country to hang on to authority.
Let the forum and alike individuals and groups across the country to remember that we are in a democracy and everyone is free to contest for president in 2023 and allow the electorate to make their choice. For this reason, let all these individuals, forums and their foot soldiers know clearly neither threats nor intimidation can force the electorates to circumvent their egos and selfish interest for their political survival.
I am personally not saying a Southerner should not be president of Nigeria when the time comes, but the forum and their foot soldiers must not heat up the polity by saying it is their turn by causing crisis.
For the country to move forward, Nigerians need any qualified persons from other parts of the country. What the country and citizens at large benefited from rotational presidency or president of the country not on competency
Nigerians have freedom of choice. Let the forum understand that politics is about persuasion, not seeking shortcuts to power without working for it. Every Nigerian has the right to contest for the highest office in the land because Nigeria is a democratic nation.
Let all the regional groups in the country understand peaceful coexistence of Nigeria is most vital to all, therefore their resolutions in that regard has further exposed deliberate attempt to impose a contentious system of rotational presidency that turns all democratic norms and accepted indices of national demography on their heads, a rotation system that is clearly aimed at achieving selfish political goals.
Dukawa writes in from Kano