The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party flouted its power rotation provision by letting ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan contest in 2011.
Naija News reports that El-Rufai stated this while explaining the stand of northern governors over the demand to shift power to the South come 2023.
There has been controversy over the demand of the Southern governors on the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the region. The Southern governors had earlier demanded that the two major political parties, the All Progressive Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP must zoned their candidacy to the South if they meant well for the nation.
Responding to the Southern governor’s demand, El-Rufai in a chat with newsmen, said while a southern presidency in 2023 is very possible, it won’t come by sitting in Lagos or Rivers and issuing demands or instructions.
He said: “We are not saying there cannot be rotational presidency, it can be done but you have to come and sit with the politicians in the north and dialogue and then we agree to give our support to the south but no one has the right to sit in Lagos or Port Harcourt and say whether northerners want it or not, they must relinquish power to the south, that is wrong, it is not how we do politics and in fact, it is foolish.”
Meanwhile, the Northern Governors Forum, in a communiqué read by their chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, after their emergency meeting on Monday, September 27, had said “The Forum observed that some northern states governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three Geo-Political Zone in the south to promote unity and peace in the nation.”
Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemn the statement by the Southern Governor’s Forum that the presidency must go to the south.
According to them, the Southern Governors comment is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected president shall:-score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation. In the case of run-up, a simple majority wins the election.
Naija News understands that the response of the Northern governors stirred a barrage of reactions as many Nigerians condemned them for expressing opposition to power shift to the South.
Giving clarification on his statement earlier, El-Rufai while speaking with a media in Kaduna, said his colleagues in the north never opposed the presidency going to the South in 2023, but were only against the language used by their Southern colleagues.
He stressed that the Northern governors were unhappy about the language used by Southern governors at their meetings in Asaba, Lagos and Enugu where they said: “power must shift to the South”.
He said Northern governors were alarmed that their southern counterparts used “must” in their agitation for power shift.
According to El-Rufai, the word “must” is at variance with democracy, which is characterized by negotiations and horse-trading by parties.
The governor recalled that “some other Northern governors had earlier called for power shift in 2023 in their individual capacities to foster national unity and togetherness.”
He added that as one of the governors in support of power shift, he was “called names by our people for making that call.”
El-Rufai argued that the Southern governors could have reached out to their counterparts in the North on the issue, instead of playing to the gallery. He also accused the media of misrepresenting the resolution of the Northern governors on power shift.
He added: “The North has supported southern presidential aspirants in the past. We ‘supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s aspiration in 1999 and his re-election in 2003”.