From Fred Itua, Abuja
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and the North Central Progressive Group (NCGP) have backed the Southern Governors’ Forum’s resolution on the zoning of the presidential seat to the region in 2023.
He was reacting to the outcome of Monday’s Southern Governors Forum meeting held in Lagos and its endorsement of rotation. The southern governors had during the meeting agreed that the region should produce Nigeria’s next president based on the principles of equity and fairness.
Reechoing the position, Zulum said: “I have said it times without number that I, Professor Babagana Zulum, I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in 2023 because the unity of our country is very important.
“Secondly, inclusivity is very important. Thirdly, I am in the APC. Six or seven years ago, APC had zoned the presidency to northern Nigeria based on the agreement that in the year 2023, the presidency should go to the south.”
Zulum who appeared on a live television, yesterday, admitted that the southern leaders have the right to call for power shift to the region but faulted those insisting that the zone must produce the next Nigerian leader.
“But again, this is politics. We are supposed to meet and discuss this issue among ourselves, among the political class,” he explained, as he called for caution so as not to overheat the polity in the lead-up to the 2023 polls.
“This statement that people are saying that the president must go to the south, I want them to remove the word must.”
Similarly, NCGP called on political leaders from the six geopolitics zones to support presidential aspirants from the South East and North Central.
It also urged presidential aspirants who would be 60 years and above by 2023 to steer clear of the presidential quest in the region.
The leaders who addressed the media in Abuja, pegged the maximum age at 60 saying many Nigerians who held political power in the past were youths.
Benjamin Sanni, Felix Tolorunju and Aisha Uju Okoye, who spoke for the group emphasised that the region and the South East have what it takes to govern Nigeria among her youthful population.
They said while the two regions were still asking all political parties and zones to cede the 2023 presidency to them, any aspirants older than 60 at the time of the quest should forget about the presidency Sani said the the legitimate agitation was anchored on the need for the region to have a sense of belonging.
“We have credible people who can deliver Nigeria from chaos, whatever and however it is. We are agitating for the Presidency to be zoned to North Central because our region is being marginalised.
“North Central will take Nigeria to where the country has been praying to get to. No matter the age bracket, we are agitating that a president from 60 years downward will deliver Nigeria.
“People who held power started at their tender age. So, anything above 60, forget about the Presidency, that is all I can tell Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Jonah Onuoha has said rotating of the Presidency between the north and the south is unwritten law that has been in practice since 1999.
The Head of Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), said the position of governors that in 2023 general elections the president of the country should come from the South was in line with the rotation of presidency in the country since 1999.
“If you check the record, since 1999 the presidency has been rotating between the South and North. Rotating presidency is unwritten law that is in practice Nigeria since 1999. Anybody in Nigeria who wants to disrupt this rotation is not only unpatriotic but enemy of democracy in Nigeria.”
Onuoha said the popular definition of democracy globally remains “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.”