The demand by the Southern Governors for power to shift to the Southern part of the country may be gaining momentum gradually as no fewer than six of their counterparts from the north have now backed the call.
The New Diplomat reports barrage of comments has trailed the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) meeting that held in Lagos recently, where they jointly agreed that there was a need for power rotation in Nigeria, endorsing a southern presidency in 2023.
Many groups and individuals have supported the demand of the Southern Governors, saying that rotational presidency is needed to give every section of the country a sense of belonging. However, others have rejected the demand describing it as an unconstitutional move.
Amid the mixed reactions, some Northern Governors have thrown their weight behind rotational presidency.
The six Governors that have spoken in support of the call are Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State; Governor Aminu Masari of Kastina; Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State.
Four of the listed northern governors had previously supported the zoning of the presidency to South before the meeting of the SGF, while the remaining two joined the fold after the meeting, declaring support for the demand.
The New Diplomat had reported that Zulum backed the resolution of the Southern Governors in demanding for the zoning of the presidential seat to the South in 2023.
The Governor who spoke during an interview session with Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily noted that he is of the opinion that the presidency should go to the south in the 2023 to preserve the country’s unity.
“I have said it times without number that I, Professor Babagana Zulum, I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in the year 2023 because the unity of our country is very important,” he had said.
Similarly, Ortom commended the Southern Governors for their position on the rotation of the presidency.
“Governor Ortom believes that only equity, fairness and justice can strengthen the unity of Nigeria, give all citizens a sense of belonging and reduce tensions across the country,” a statement by his spokesperson said.
Speaking on the issue, El-Rufai had argued that Nigeria’s next President in 2023 should emerge from the South.
“The southern part of the country is supposed to produce the President come 2023; I don’t support a northerner to vie for the seat after President Muhammadu Buhari based on Nigeria’s political arrangement,” he said.
Also speaking, Ganduje recently said presidency in 2023 must be zoned to the South.
According to him, the rotational presidency is not stated in the Constitution, however it is important to adopt it since it was strategic in winning elections.
Masari had also declared his support for the rotation of the presidency in 2023.
The Katsina governor said the southern region should produce the next President.
According to him, a non-northerner should succeed Buhari in 2023 in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice.
Sule recently expressed support for rotational presidency.
The Nasarawa governor said it was necessary for the next President to come from the South.
The governor stressed that, for fairness and distribution, if the presidency is zoned to the South, the APC national chairmanship should be zoned to the North.
“That is why, from all indications, I have never said anything against the agitation for rotation of the presidency to the South. It’s because I don’t think it’s a bad idea for peace in Nigeria, if there is rotational presidency,” Sule said.
However, The New Diplomat had also reported that many Northern groups have faulted the call for rotational presidency by the Southern Governors.
A Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has criticised the Southern Governors over their resolutions at the recent meeting which held in Lagos.
The coalition claimed that the resolutions of the Southern Governors amount to a “deliberate attempt” to weaken the North.
“The northern group added that the governors resolutions on 2023 exposed a deliberate attempt to impose a contentious system of rotational presidency aimed at achieving dubious political goals to weaken the North. This conspiracy is actively perpetrated with the connivance of some northerners and accommodated by the personal ambition of a few of those that present themselves as northern political leaders,” the group said in a statement.
Also, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in its reaction rejected the position of the Southern governors on rotational presidency.
According to NEF, the decision of the governors is aimed at threatening, intimidating or blackmailing the North into yielding an office which ought to be settled democratically.
“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,” the group argued in a statement.
The New Diplomat reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is from Kastina State in Nigeria’s northwest would have completed his maximum number of eight years — two terms– come 2023 as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution.
Hence, many local and international political analysts had argued that power should shift to the south in 2023 to respect the much talked-about unwritten gentleman’s arrangement on power rotation to preserve the unity of Nigeria and promote equity and justice in a nation that’s currently witnessing an upsurge of secessionist agitations.