NEF: Southern govs’ pursuing Buhari’s successor agenda wrongly
In an apparent response to the Lagos’ Declaration by the 17 Southern governors over some national issues, especially who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, yesterday replied his colleagues from the region, insisting that it wasn’t a must for the southern part of the country to produce the next president.
In similar fashion, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), also accused the southern governors of demanding, in a wrong way, the mandate to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023. Recall that on Monday, 17 southern governors, after a meeting in Lagos, concluded that “the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region” as a commitment to “politics of equity and fairness.” New Telegraph gathered that the governor rejoinder is coming on the heels of the many reactions from notable northern personalities, groups among others over the resolution of the Southern governors. Speaking with Channels TV yesterday, Zulum, who is an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, while reiterated his support that the southern part of the country should produce the president in 2023, cautioned against the use of “must” when such matters are raised.
He said it his colleagues needed to do was to engage in a more robust discourse concerning such issues. He said: “I have said it times without number that I, Professor Babagana Zulum, I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in the year 2023 because the unity of our country is very important.
“Secondly, inclusivity is very important. Thirdly, I am in the APC. Six or seven years ago, APC had zoned the presidency to northern Nigeria based on the agreement that in the year 2023, the presidency should go to the South. “But again, this is politics. We are supposed to meet and discuss this issue among ourselves, among the political class. This statement that people are saying the president must go to the south, I want them to remove the word must.” Meanwhile, NEF’s spokesman, Hakeem Baba- Ahmed, while featuring on Channels TV yesterday, said the governors were supposed to do more tinkering than making a pronouncement.
Baba-Ahmed said though the call for power shift to the South was not wrong, the governors’ approach was defective. He said: “You read in between the lines of their well-crafted communique that says that they want basically a southern presi-dency. It is not wrong. That means the North needs to yield the presidency to the southern part of the country. There is nothing wrong with that.
“The problem is the manner it is being pursued this time by people who were elected on the basis of the constitution, who understand that politics is about getting up and convincing people rather than just sitting down and say ‘we want this, we want that.’ That’s wrong. “Two, they must know that the manner they are doing this, not what they are looking for, but the manner in which they are doing it is likely to cause more problem for them than solve the problems.” Baba-Ahmed further argued that southern governors would have to convince northerners about their position and other Nigerians while ensuring that political parties field southern candidates in the 2023 presidential election.