Dumping rotational presidency’ll cause crisis – Akeredolu

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THE Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has insisted that the southern part of the country must produce the next president of the country.

Akeredolu, in a statement on Tuesday, warned the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress against giving the presidential ticket to a northern aspirant so as not to put the party in a  crisis.

He said, “The current democratic dispensation is anchored on the unwritten convention driven by a principle of equity. Political expediency dictates, more appealingly, that while adhering to the spirit and letters of the laws guiding the conduct of elections and succession to political offices, we must do nothing which is capable of tilting the delicate balance against the established arrangement which guarantees peace and promotes trust.

“Our party just elected officers on the established principle of giving every part of the country an important stake in the political calculus. The focus has now shifted to the process which will culminate in the participation of our party in the general elections scheduled for next year. All lovers of peace and freedom must do everything to eschew tendencies which may predispose them to taking decisions which promote distrust and lead to a crisis, the end of which nobody may be able to predict.

In response, the Spokesperson for the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, Suleiman Abdulazeez, in an interview in Kaduna, said the governor’s remark was a threat to the nation’s democracy.

He said, “Our reaction to this is as always that people like Akeredolu are being deliberately mischievous to deceive their people over the issue of power rotation to anywhere.  They enjoy the unearned populism that comes from their gullible followers whenever they make that empty boast that power must shift to the South in 2023 or anytime in the near future.

“This one coming from Akeredolu represents an entirely new twist in the zoning drama by suggesting that the controversial zoning arrangement should also be extended to the APC.  The APC has at no time either expressly or impliedly committed itself to zoning.

“This is something that every responsible member of the APC should know. The  APC is not and cannot be bound by any agreement to rotate power between regions which it has never been a party to.

“Whatever the case, let me repeat here that the North would never give in to threats or blackmail to give up its democratic and constitutional prerogative to field candidates for every national election.

“Our position remains unchanged that the North will never respect any arrangement that tends to block northerners from contesting elections to the presidency.”

“Akeredolu should know by now that the North is not and shall never be afraid of threats of disengaging from the Nigerian union by any section of the country that feels strongly about it, in fact, we welcome it.

“Everyone is by now aware that whatever power-sharing deal existed between the northern and southern regions of Nigeria in the PDP was dead and buried having been jettisoned by southern politicians twice in 2011 and 2015.”

Also, a former Secretary-General of the northern socio-political group, the Arewa Consultative Forum,  Elder Anthony Sani, warned southern governors and their  socio-cultural groups against intimidating the North over zoning the presidency to the south in 2023. Sani argued that instead of threats and intimidation, the southern governors, as well as groups in the south, should perfect their winning game plan and sell their candidates to Nigerians for the forthcoming elections.

At the Senate, a former leader of the Northern Caucus, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), in an interview stated that it would be unfair and unjust for the North to reject power shift to the South. Ndume, who is from Borno State in the North, is leading the presidential campaign of a former Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, from the South.

“That is not fair at all. That is injustice. My position has not changed: I said it earlier than now that the Presidency – in the APC in particular – should naturally move to the South because there was a gentleman’s agreement on that.”

The lawmaker recalled that southern aspirants had stepped down for their northern counterparts, including Buhari, ahead of the 2015 presidential election, except for the then Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who is now a member of the Senate and has rejoined the presidential race.



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