Tunde Thomas and Vincent Kalu
Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural group; the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze and Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF), have insisted that the presidency must shift to the south in 2023.
The three groups were reacting to statements credited to President Buhari’s nephew, Mammam Daura, and Prof Usman Yusuf. Daura was quoted recently, as saying that ‘competence’ should take the place of rotation or zoning of the presidency. A former chief executive of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Yusuf, who also carpeted those clamouring for rotation of presidency and restructuring, emphasised in an interview with Saturday Sun, today, that rotational presidency and restructuring shouldn’t find a place in today’s Nigeria.
In his reaction, the Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, members of the cabal, living or dead are thinking of an agenda to hold the presidency after they have held it for eight years by 2023.
“They are being clever by half. For Mamman Daura to be talking of ‘competence’, so he is just realising now that there is a word called ‘competence’, after eight years. He should realise that many of us were born at night, but we were not born last night for us to accept such shenanigans. There is nowhere you want to remove the idea of rotation or zoning in an uncertain polity like Nigeria and it will work; it is going to create a lot of heat in the polity.
“Restructuring is the best thing for this country. If we restructure today and enthrone proper federalism, not many people will be fighting over rotation of power because the presidency will not have these ubiquitous roles in our lives, but to say that we remain the way we are is purely an agenda for the rest of the country to continue to remain under domination, subjugation by a section of the country,” Odumakin said.
In the same vein, the Ohanaeze, through its National Publicity Secretary, Uche Opaga- Achi, said, the positions of Daura and Yusuf are like, “crossing the bridge and wishing the bridge to collapse. On some occasions, the North has occupied the presidency through the instrumentality of rotation – Umaru Yar’ Adua, and Buhari. Of course, through the instrumentality of rotation, Obasanjo became the president.
“So, I wouldn’t know why somebody would be tinkering with jettisoning rotation of presidency. They want to throw the country into turmoil; dismantling the system when we are trying to improve on it. We have got democracy and we are praying that we forge ahead with it and open the frontiers by enthroning federal character.
“Dismantling rotation is taking us 50 years back. When you dismantle rotational presidency, it becomes free for all fight; because the North thinks they have the advantage of population, so they can always get it. It doesn’t work like that because there is always the God factor for everything we do in this world. Was it no by providence that Goodluck Jonathan became president? That was God factor.
Speaking in the same direction, the National Chairman of PANDEF, Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd) stressed that Daura’s statements and that of others are part of a grand plan, and hidden agenda by the North to ensure that zoning is jettisoned for 2023 presidential election.
While warning Daura, and other Northern leaders that are suddenly canvassing ‘competence’ as a major criterion to determine who becomes president in 2023, the PANDEF leader urged Northern leaders that are canvassing the same views to desist from doing so if they don’t want to set Nigeria on fire.
“Obviously, Daura and these other northern leaders that are suddenly talking of ‘competence’ have a hidden agenda. From what they are saying it is clear that they are targeting the South. They don’t want the Presidency to come to the South in 2023 contrary to the rotation principle by which Presidency is supposed to revolve to the South in 2023. Any attempt to jettison zoning will bring calamity on the country.”
On Restructuring, Nkanga said those saying that it can’t stand or that it is not right, are living in a fool’s paradise. “There is no alternative to restructuring. Without restructuring, Nigeria can’t move forward. It is only restructuring that can help Nigeria tackle myriads of challenges facing the country,’’ he stated.