Mixed reactions have continued to trail the popular demand by the Southern Governors that the South should produce the next president of the country.
The Southern Governors’ Forum, at a meeting that held in Lagos on Monday had jointly agreed that there was a need for rotational presidency while endorsing a southern presidency in 2023.
“The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region,” the communique stated.
Meanwhile, several interest groups, have continued to react to the resolutions of the Southern Governors.
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.
The forum, in its argument stated that Nigerians should be allowed to choose their president.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Forum’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
The statement partly reads, “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.”
However, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has commended the Southern Governors for their resolutions during the meeting that held on Monday.
The group, however, urged the Southern Governors to zone the 2023 presidency to the South-East in the interest of fair play and justice.
The spokesman for the Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, in a statement urged the governors to magnanimously concede the presidency to South-East.
The statement partly reads, “However, in commending the southern governors for that resolution, Ohanaeze is urging them to be magnanimous in conceding to South-East the Presidency. The South-West had a shot the South-South had a shot; and in each occasion the Igbo gave them total support.
“So justice, equity and fairness will demand that they concede the Presidency to the South-East. So in thanking them, we are going step ahead to urge them to consider the South East to have a shot at the Presidency.
Also, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, described the resolutions of the Governors as a welcome development.
Afenifere, however, urged the Governors to set their priority on restructuring the country before the 2023 elections.
The leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who spoke with the Punch, stated that Afenifere supports the Governors’ resolutions.
When asked if his group believes that the South should produce the next President, Adebanjo said, “I support it 100 per cent.”
But when asked if Afenifere would be pressing for a South-West President, the 93-year-old statesman said, “We are not supporting any election until Nigeria is restructured. We are not going to support any Presidential candidate under this constitution. We must change this constitution first.”
Earlier, The New Diplomat had reported that the apex body of all Yoruba interests groups in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, Igbimọ Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council Worldwide) has also lauded the braveness and the commitment of the Southern Governors in championing the interests of Southerners.
In a statement the group also demanded for the micro-zoning of the presidency to Southwest.
The Yoruba Council said: “While appreciating the Forum’s unanimous stands on the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria, which resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region, hence we therefore call for a concerted efforts for a more deliberate supports for the Southwest zone to produce the next President in 2023 tagged: “Yoruba Agenda 2023”.