Southern Governors Divided On Zoning 2023 Presidency To South



Governors from the South, under the aegis of Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), are no longer on the same page on their earlier resolution that political par­ties in the country, especially the rul­ing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), must not field any Northerner as presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections, Daily Independent has gathered.

One of the Southern governors, who was present at the two meetings where the resolution was made, con­firmed the development to Daily In­dependent on Monday.

According to him, many of his colleagues have listened to the voice of reason and have “somehow agreed that throwing the ticket open to all as­pirants where the best person will emerge is the best thing to do in the interest of peace and development of the country”.

He added that some of his colleagues have also agreed with those who declared their resolution on zoning as un­constitutional and that Nige­rians should not allow ethnic or regional considerations determine who becomes the president in the 2023 general election.

It would be recalled that there has been a sharp division among the 36 state governors on the issue of zoning of the presidential tickets of the po­litical parties.

While the APC, PDP and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governors from the Southern part of the country insisted that the presidency must shift to the South in 2023, the PDP and APC governors in the Northern Governors’ Forum rejected the demand, saying it negates the position of the Nigerian constitution.

The 17 Southern governors from the APC, PDP and APGA at their meeting in Lagos in July, last year, had issued a com­muniqué where they agreed that the presidency should be zoned to Southern Nigeria in 2023 when President Muham­madu Buhari completes his second term.

“The forum reaffirms its commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful coexistence between and amongst its people.

“The forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unan­imously agreed that the pres­idency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and North­ern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nige­ria should emerge from the South.”

The governors, who again met in Enugu in September also reiterated their commit­ment towards ensuring that the major political parties com­plied with their resolution on zoning of the presidential tick­et to the South.

Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, had said any political party that fields a Northern candidate for presi­dency in 2023 risks losing the support of Southerners.

He argued that when Pres­ident Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, completes his second term in 2023, the next president should come from the South.

According to him, “There are about three political parties that are in the Southern Gover­nors’ Forum, we have the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress. All of us are unanimous in our position that the next president of this country must come from the South.

“For us, we are unanimous. It (the forum) is not a political platform. I believe that any party that picks somebody from the North would have to face the whole Southern region because they will not support it.

“It has to come from the South. We are saying that there must be what I will call rotation. The justice of it and the fairness in it are what we are preaching. If my president – President Buhari — has been in office for eight years, it can’t be from the North. The next president must come from the South.”

In response, Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Pla­teau State, Simon Lalong, in an 11-point resolution of the meeting, said, “Notwithstand­ing their comments, the Fo­rum unanimously condemn the statement by the South­ern Governors’ Forum that the presidency must go to the South.”

Speaking with Daily Inde­pendent, a governor from the Southern part of the country who was initially opposed to the move by the SGF said re­cent developments in the polity has vindicated him as most of his colleagues who were ini­tially insisting on zoning the presidency to the South have jettisoned the idea.

“I think I have been vindi­cated by what happened two days ago. One of our colleagues who was present at the South­ern Governors’ Forum where the resolution was made vis­ited one of our colleagues in the North and he said that the PDP stands a brighter chance of winning the 2023 election if they field our Northern col­league as candidate.

“If you are serious about the South producing the pres­idential candidate in 2023, why technically declaring support for a Northerner? I think they themselves have seen the fu­tility in pushing the idea of a Southern candidate.

“Political parties can zone but they should allow every qualified aspirant to partic­ipate in the primaries. That has been the norm since return of democracy in 1999. Asking qualified persons not to partic­ipate in the primaries is uncon­stitutional and that was why I never supported the move at the word go”, he said.

Source:- Independent Ng



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