The governors of the 19 Northern states have rejected the position of their Southern colleagues that the 2023 presidency should be zoned to the Southern part of the country, arguing that the presidency is a democratic office and not a rotational position.
The Southern governors had in a meeting in July in Lagos State demanded that power must shift to their region.
However, arising from an emergency meeting with Northern traditional rulers at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, on Monday, the Northern Governors Forum said the region could not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that could be sought by any person irrespective of where he comes from.
The forum added that though some Northern governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three geo-political zones in the South, with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation, the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South is unacceptable.
Reading from the resolutions of the meeting, Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Forum, Simon Bako Lalong said, “The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected President shall secure at least 25 percent of the votes cast in 2/3 states of the federation. In the case of run-up simple majority win the election.”
He noted that the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT, and the surrounding controversies were among the key issues discussed.
“While getting update essentially on the progress made so far from the previous meeting held in February, we shall take stock of how far we have gone in tackling banditry, kidnapping and insurgency, and chart a way forward,” he said.
The governor recalled that in February, the forum considered a wide range of issues concerning the well-being of its people.
Speaking at the forum, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Chairman of the Northern Council of Traditional Rulers, decried the lack of implementation of policies after resolutions had been reached in various meetings.