Tunde Thomas And Vincent Kalu
Two prominent socio-cultural groups in the south, Afenifere and Ohanaeze have scolded former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) Othman Bashir Tofa, over his call for jettisoning zoning and rotation of the presidency.
Tofa, in an interview with Saturday Sun today, made a case for scrapping of zoning and rotation of political offices, especially the presidency.
Reacting, Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said, Tofa is not saying anything new, adding that he is only confirming the hidden agenda by the North to cling to power in 2023.
According to him, Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State started it by saying that rotation or zoning should be jettisoned in 2023, and now Tofa has added his voice. “What all these have shown is that the plot by the North not to relinquish power in 2023 is thickening by the day”, he stated.
He said: “But Tofa, El-Rufai, and other Northerners perfecting this hidden agenda are playing a dangerous game. These fellows are enemies of Nigeria. It is very funny that Tofa, and El-Rufai are now talking about meritocracy when Buhari would have completed the eight years of the North in 2023. Now they want to change the goal post in the middle of a game, it is not possible.
“Do these people think Southerners are fools? They better drop this their hidden agenda for 2023 except they want to tear this country into shreds. This evil plot will boomerang. It will blow up in their faces. The South will not fold its arms while these enemies of Nigeria are perfecting this evil agenda. The South will resist it.
“It is obvious that the North wants to derail this country, if not El-Rufai, Tofa, and other Northern elements in their fold would not have embarked on this evil agenda.
“For us in the South, and the Middle-Belt Forum, there is no alternative to restructuring. If President Buhari has good intention for this nation, he should restructure Nigeria now. We want a return to true practice of federalism as it was done in the First Republic. Time is running out for Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise.”
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Opaga- Achi, said that the North will always scheme to their own selfish and sentimental advantage.
According to him, the scheme was what they used to edge out former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, claiming that the presidency was zoned to the North.
He said: “The late Gen Sani Abacha, a northerner introduced the six geo-political zone structure, and power was supposed to rotate among these zones, but once it has to do with the North, selfishness comes in.
“We keep saying it, until we restructure Nigeria, the country will continue to be a stationary machine- all motion, and no movement. Look at the type of judgement from Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which can be interpreted that you can now operate a hospital with a mere affidavit, even though you are not a medical doctor. We are waiting for the Supreme Court verdict.
“We want restructuring in Nigeria, as well as purposeful presidency. Look at the number of people who have ruled Nigeria for our 59 years of independence, the North has ruled close to 42 years, is the North better off or is the Southeast, the worst? The most pauperised areas in the country are the Northwest and Northeast.
“For decades that the North has been in power, what difference has it made in the lives of Northerners? About three days ago, Dangote lamented that over 60 per cent of northerners in the Northwest and Northeast live below poverty level. What of the educational level? They have the highest number of out of schoolgirls and boys. What have they used their presidency to achieve?
“If you go there, their people are suffering. They are holding power and they don’t know what to do with it; they are not only holding their people down, but also others. These are issues that Tofa is supposed to be addressing.
“So if you think that you have the presidency and every other person can go to blazes, it is not so. Until we come to a round table and begin to do things right, Nigeria will continue to wallow in darkness.”