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The Southern and Middle-Belt Alliance (SaMBA) said the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) position on who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari would fuel calls for Nigeria’s breakup.
On Monday in Kaduna, Governors of the 19 northern states declared it was unconstitutional for their colleagues in the south to demand the 2023 presidency.
Reacting, SaMBA said while there is no express provision for zoning in the constitution, Section 14(3) explicitly supports the distribution of offices in the composition of the government.
A statement signed by the spokesman, Rwang Pam, said the provision of the section disapproves of any attempt by a particular region to dominate others.
The body warned that permutations by the north to retain power in 2023 will defeat the purpose of a united Nigeria.
Pam accused the governors of attempting to stand history on its head, an action that would result in additional separatist agitations in the country.
He noted: “Section 14(3) states: The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
“Therefore, it is contrary to the letters and spirit of the Constitution and a danger to the unity of the 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 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 Jonathan had only spent one term in office as elected president.
“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.”
SaMBA advised the NGF to perish the thought of holding on to power beyond 2023 and cautioned political parties against zoning their presidential ticket to the North.
The statement added that any governor from the Middle Belt that supports the stance of the North should be regarded as acting against the wishes of his people.
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