Middle belt group: North holding power beyond 2023 not in Nigeria’s interest

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The Southern and Middle-Belt Alliance (SaMBA) says the statement of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) as regards the 2023 presidency is not in the interest of Nigeria.

The northern governors had said the position of their southern counterparts that the next president must come from the south contradicts the provisions of the constitutionBut SaMBA, in a statement by Rwang Pam, its spokesman, said while there is no provision for zoning in the constitution, section 14 (3) disapproves of any attempt by any region to dominate other regions.The group warned the northern governors that any attempt by the region to retain power in 2023 will endanger the already fragile unity of the country.

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“The recent statement credited to the Northern Governors Forum that power shift is unconstitutional is an attempt to stand history on its head and could fuel separatist agitations in the country,” the statement reads.“The section of the Constitution referenced by the Northern Governors only refers to the requirements for someone to be declared as elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but the relevant constitutional provision for power rotation is section 14(3) which explicitly is for the spread of political offices in the country to prevent one ethnic or region dominating another for the sake of peace and unity in the country.“Therefore, it is contrary to the letters and spirit of the Constitution and a danger to the unity of Federal Republic of Nigeria for the core North to spend eight years in office as and still be thinking of seeking another eight years.

“Nigerians are aware, that after former President Olusegun Obasanjo completed his 8-year term in 2007, the South unanimously agreed for the Northern Nigeria to produce the President. In 2007, the South did not cry that zoning is unconstitutional, and President Obasanjo duly handed over Power to a northerner, the late former President Umaru Ya’Adua.“It is also public knowledge that former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 Presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari partly because of the global sentiment, that it was the turn of the North to Produce the President, even though Dr Goodluck Jonathan had only spent one term in office as elected president.“Therefore, it is not in the interest of the country for the North to hold onto power in 2023; because doing so will be to the detriment of the already fragile unity of the country and more likely to lead to an increase of separatist movements across the country.”The group said the position of the middle belt region is “categorically clear” that the south should produce the next president in 2023.

“We therefore, unequivocally advise the Northern Governors Forum to perish the thought of holding onto power in 2023 and the same applies to the various political parties (APC, PDP, or any other party) to bury the thought of zoning the Presidency to the North,” it added.“In the spirit of fairness, moral justice, national peace and equity, SaMBA stands with the majority of Nigerians: power must shift to the south!”

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