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Afenifere fires back at NEF: Says power must return to South

Afenifere, the Pan Yoruba Socio-political group yesterday tackled the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) over the claim that the next president of the country can come from the Northern part of the country.

The mainstream Yoruba organisation said the next president must come from the South as a result of the gentleman’s agreement reached between the South and Northern part of the country.

A statement by the Secretary of the group, Chief Sola Ebiseeni said it is hogwash to have thought that the successor of President Muhammadu Buhari can come from any part of the country including the North which had monopolised the presidency for most of the years since the nation got independence.

Already, Ohaneze Ndigbo had said the presidency must come to the South in order to maintain the existing peace among the zones of the country.

However, Afenifere in its statement Wednesday backed the Resolution of the Southern Governors Forum insisting that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South of the country is not new.

Afenifere said the governors only lent gubernatorial authority to a national consensus on the issue of power rotation.

Ebiseeni said: “The fact that, since 1999, the office of the President has been rotated between the South and North in a consistent row of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and the present President Muhammadu Buhari is not an act of accident. It is a national consensus that has ensured peaceful transition of power in the polity.

“This national political understanding has endured notwithstanding that, since Independence in 1960 up to 1999 (39 years), the North has virtually monopolised the leadership of Nigeria as Prime Minister, President or Military Head of State, except for the three and half years of accidental emergence of Olusegun Obasanjo as Military Head of State.

“It is therefore gibberish to suggest that power should return to the North after eight years of President Buhari on the ground that President Yar’Adua, elected on 29th May 2007, and died May 5, 2010, could not complete eight years thereby supposedly depriving the North of some four years.

“The concept of power rotation seeks to fuse together and give the component Nigerian ethnic nationalities a sense of belonging for practical expression to the inevitable quest for national integration in the process of nation building.

“The constitution also envisages this imperative need for national integration when it provides that: “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 promote national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies.

“It is contradiction in terms that those who insist on the free reign of what they call democratic processes are prepared to defend the crudest form of concessions and sacrifice of merit, in the name of federal character principle, in the admission into public educational institutions, the military and employment into the public service of the federation.

“The principal reason rotational power is imperative is the fact that Nigeria is premised on flawed demography. The only truth about Nigeria is that it is made up of several ethnic nationalities with entrenched socio-political culture.

“It is an amalgam of the Northern and Southern regions which are subdivided into three each geopolitical zone. That is where all truths and rationality end, other demographics and indices are false, untrue and unreliable for any just democratic process.”

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