Northern governors, emirs reject power shift in 2023 - OPID News

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Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Northern governors, emirs reject power shift in 2023

 Northern governors, emirs reject power shift in 2023

•‘It will be unconstitutional’ •Akeredolu: they have a right to their opinion-

Governors,  traditional rulers in the north yesterday rejected the call by Southern governors for power shift in 2023.

The governors under the aegis of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, and the monarchs after a meeting in Kaduna, said the clamour for power rotation is unconstitutional.

Northern Governors’ Forum Chairman and Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, who read the resolutions, described the call for zoning as a contradiction.

He said: “The Forum observed that some Northern State 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.

“Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemns the statement by the Southern Governors’ Forum that the Presidency must go to the South.

“The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, that the elected President shall score majority votes; score at least, 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-third states of the federation. In the case of run-up, simple majority win the election.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, led monarchs to the meeting at the Council Chamber of the Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.

The meeting chided Southern governors for creating confusion over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).

The call for rotation by the Southern governors and the objection by their Northern counterparts underscores the division over zoning of political offices ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Governors from the South at three meetings in Asaba, Lagos and Enugu called for the rotation of the Presidential seat to the South in 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year tenure.

They also resolved that state and not the Federal government should collect VAT.

The Northern governors, who did not raise an eyebrow over the promulgation of anti-Open Grazing law by Southern states, urged the Federal Government to fast track action on the proposed livestock programme to replace cattle grazing.

In recent past, some governors in the North expressed public support for the rotation of power to the South in 2023, in the spirit of unity and peace.

These include: Katsina State Governor Bello Masari, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum and Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai.

Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the governors and the emirs have the right to their opinion.

“They have expressed and indeed exercised their rights under Freedom of Expression. No one can stop them from expressing themselves,” he said.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo described the action as fanning the embers of disunity.

Its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, said the statement is unconscionable, adding that it could destabilize the country.

Ohanaeze said the North would benefit more from a united Nigeria, advising the Northern leaders to desist from creating crisis.

The group reminded the North that former leaders of the country had in conscience, reached an agreement in 1998 over power rotation between the North and the South, which had been religiously followed.

It said it would be unjust to discard rotational presidency.

Ohanaeze added: “The truth is that if there’s any group of people that needs Nigeria’s unity more, it is the North.

“In conscience, agreement was reached in 1998 over power rotation between the North and the South. And it has been going on like that from Obasanjo(South) to Yar’adua(North) to Jonathan(South) and now Buhari (North).

Insecurity in the North

Other decisions at the meeting, according to Lalong are: commendation of the ongoing security onslaught against bandits and insurgents in the region and called on the Armed Forces for simultaneous operation across the frontline states.

Other resolutions are: “The Forum reviewed security updates from the Region and observed the need for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the Federal and Northern States Governments while noting success of recent measures.

“The meeting also noted with concern the constraint of the security services and urged the Armed Forces to embark on simultaneous operations and resolved to share the plans of the Frontline States come up with common with other Region; and assured of its readiness to work in synergy with the Federal Government of Nigeria in finding lasting solution to the current security challenges.

“The Forum appreciated the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram especially in the North East and parts of North West and North Central States and encouraged the Armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to enable the security challenges be permanently addressed in the shortest time.

“The Forum received updates on the Renewable / Solar Energy Project and noted that request for land for the project had been submitted and are being processed by the Northern States.  The Committee had commenced negotiations in a public private arrangement and sovereign guarantees to ensure bankability of the project by multilateral financial organizations.  The Forum called on States yet to process the request for allocation of land for the project to expedite action.

“The meeting received updates on activities of some Committees constituted by the Northern States Governors’ Forum and noted that recommendations contained therein are being considered with a view to coming up with implementation strategies.

“The Traditional Rulers Councils appreciated the efforts made so far by the NSGF in addressing the key areas of challenges facing the Northern States, they expressed their willingness, solidarity and collaboration with the Governors’ in addressing these challenges particularly the issue of security.  It was equally resolved that perpetrators of crimes should be dealt with irrespective of their status in the society.

“The Forum decried the high level of conspiracies being perpetrated by some Judicial Officers in releasing / granting bail to arrested criminals.  This attitude sabotages the fight against criminality, therefore, there the need to develop good and robust intelligence mechanism amongst States was identified as a panacea.

“The Forum calls on agencies to leave up to their responsibility, Traditional rulers are to equally mobilize their various communities in checkmating the ugly trend of criminality in their domains.

“The Forum noted the ugly trend in the spread of drugs and consumption amongst the teeming youth and therefore, calls on all levels of Governments and communities to raise to the occasion by stemming the tide.”

The meeting was attended by Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Prof. Babagana Zulum (Borno), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa).

Other monarchs at the meeting included Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, Ohinoyi Ebira, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, Lamido Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu, Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, and Emir of Gumi, Justice Lawal Aliyu.

Others are; Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad, Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammad Idrisa, Emir Hadejia, Dr. Adamu Abubakar, Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu Abubakar and Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn Elkanemi.

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