- Two prominent northern groups, the ACF and CNG, have said there is nothing wrong if the north retains power beyond 2023
- Both groups said there was no national consensus as regards the issue of zoning or rotational presidency
- CNG president, Shettima Yarima, said the north had only ruled for five years since the return to democracy in 1999
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) have said political parties have the right to field northern candidates for the 2023 presidential election.
In separate interviews with Nigerian Tribune, the two prominent northern groups, said there is nothing wrong in doing so.
The secretary general of the ACF, Anthony Sani, said political parties have the liberty of deciding which zone their presidential candidates and their sidekicks will come from, in the absence of a national consensus on rotation and zoning of political offices like that of the president, vice president and others.
According to him, only political parties have the exclusive right to present candidates for elective offices and the north is at liberty to drum up support for its preferred contenders.
He said: “I say there is no national consensus on rotation and zoning that is binding on political parties. There is no such national consensus. Muhammadu Buhari would not have contested against President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 and former president Goodluck Jonathan would not have contested against Buhari in 2011 and in 2015."
Sani noted that presidential candidates were fielded by political parties from both the north and the south during the 2019 general election.
He added that the ACF is not in position to tell any group not to canvass for their preferred candidate as it is not a political party.
On his part, the CNG president, Shettima Yarima, said his group is rooting for the north retain power beyond 2023, after which zone can form alliance with the southeast for a 2027 presidency.
According to him, since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, the south has ruled Nigeria for 15 years, while the north had only ruled for five years.
He said: “Even by the time Buhari completes his eight-year tenure, the North would have ruled for nine years. And if we cede power to the South in 2023 they would now have ruled for 24 years or more if they are to leave in 2027.
“For justice, equity and fairness, the North should be allowed to rule beyond 2023 even if it is for one term. We can now partner or form a strong alliance with the southeast for them to produce the president in 2027."
Yarima added that the issue of rotation must be jettisoned by all well-meaning Nigerians as it is not constitutional.
The 2023 presidency which is still about four years away is already being trailed by controversy. Every zone is interested in occupying the number seat.
Legit.ng had reported that the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has advocated for an Igbo presidency in 2023. According to him, the country cannot claim to be united if this is not achieved.
On the subject of a Yoruba 2023 presidency, he said: "How can anybody who loves this country talk of the presidency coming to the South-west in 2023."
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