Governors in the north, as well as traditional rulers, rejected the Southern governors’ call for a power change in 2023 yesterday.
After a meeting in Kaduna, governors and monarchs under the auspices of the Northern States Governors’ Forum said the demand for power rotation is illegal.
The request for zoning was seen as a paradox by Northern Governors’ Forum Chairman and Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, who read the resolutions.
“Some Northern State governors had previously stated ideas for a power shift to three geopolitical zones in the South, with the goal of creating unity and harmony in the country,” he said.
“Regardless of their remarks, the Forum unequivocally condemns the Southern Governors’ Forum’s stance that the Presidency must go to the South.
“The remark is in direct contradiction to the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, which says that the chosen President must get a majority of votes cast in two-thirds of the federation’s states. In the case of a run-off, the election is won by a simple majority.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, led monarchs to the conference in the Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna’s Council Chamber.
The gathering chastised Southern governors for causing confusion about V.A.T. collection (VAT).
The Southern governors’ desire for rotation and their Northern counterparts’ opposition highlights the divide over political office zoning ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
At three meetings in Asaba, Lagos, and Enugu, governors from the South advocated for the Presidential seat to be rotated to the South in 2023, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year term.
They also agreed that the state, not the federal government, should be in charge of collecting VAT.
The Northern governors, who were unconcerned about Southern states passing anti-open grazing legislation, asked the Federal Government to move quickly on the proposed livestock program to replace cattle grazing.
In the spirit of unity and peace, some governors in the North have recently indicated public support for the rotation of power to the South in 2023.
Governors Bello Masari of Katsina State, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State are among them.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State stated that governors and emirs have the right to their own opinions.
“They have used their right to freedom of expression by expressing and exercising it.
“No one has the power to stop people from expressing themselves,” he stated.
The conduct was denounced by Ohanaeze Ndigbo as fanning the embers of divisiveness.
Alex Ogbonnia, the group’s spokesman, called the speech reprehensible and warned that it may destabilize the country.
Ohanaeze stated that an unified Nigeria would help the North more, and urged Northern leaders to avoid causing a crisis.
The group reminded the North that prior leaders of the country had reached an agreement in conscience in 1998 to end the religiously followed rotation between the North and the South.
It stated that eliminating a rotating presidency would be unjust.
“The truth is that if there is any group of people who needs Nigeria’s unity more, it is the North,” Ohanaeze continued.
“In conscience, an agreement on overpower rotation between the North and the South was made in 1998. And it has continued in this manner from Obasanjo (South) to Yar’adua (North) to Jonathan (South) to Buhari (South) (North).”
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