2023: Arewa Elites Applying Divide-and-Rule to Stall Power Shift to South, Says Afenifere, Others
- There are rumours that the north may hold on to power beyond the forthcoming 2023 presidential election
- Leaders of some southern groups have accused the north of plotting to abort shifting power to the south
- The assertion was also stoutly supported by leaders of the Middle Belt Forum led by Professor Bitrus Pogu
FCT, Abuja - Leaders of Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark and Prof. Bitrus Pogu, on Monday, April 25 accused the north of plotting to abort shifting power to the south.
The groups decried the insincerity of northern leaders over the principle of zoning, stressing that after eight years of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency, nothing short of zoning the presidency to the southeast would resolve the restiveness in the country.
They, therefore, enjoined the two major political parties, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to cede their presidential tickets for the 2023 poll to southeast geopolitical zone for peace, unity and stability of the country.
Afenifere leader, Chief Adebanjo, said the northern political elites were applying divide-and-rule tactics to stall the return of power to the south.
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Adebanjo claimed that APC presidential aspirants from the southwest were being propelled by power brokers in Aso Rock to aspire for the presidency as part of a grand design to retain power in the north after Buhari’s tenure expires in May 2023.
“I only wish to point out that they are just deceiving you, all what you are hearing that they (the north) are supporting the southwest is an element of deceit to divide you to be able to rule over you. They don’t like anybody.
“The unfortunate thing is that former President Jonathan allowed himself to be disgraced by mentioning the fact that he is considering whether to be president. For what?
“Now that it is the turn of the southeast, they are propounding a new theory: It must be based on merit and all that. If it is the question of merit, till kingdom comes, the south alone will produce the president.”
On his part, PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark, lamented the continued marginalisation of the southeast in the scheme of things.
“It is fair and just to cede power to the zone in the interest of the corporate existence of the country.
“The southeast people deserve to have a sense of belonging in this country. So, the clamour for a president is supported by me. Today, with no other tangible reason for the north to continue to hold on to power, some people are talking about merit and competence.
“Let us do what is right; let us accommodate one another, and be fair to one another. Let all other Nigerians support a southeastern presidential candidate come 2023.”
Also, the national president of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, maintained that it would be disingenuous to deny the southeast the presidency in line with power rotation principle, said there is need to uphold truth and fairness.
“For us, the debate should be a straight one between the south-south and the southeast. But, the south-south has occupied the seat for one term and the Southeast has never occupied it at all.”
2023: Northern Nigeria may produce APC, PDP candidates during presidential poll
Recall that a recent report revealed that the north may produce the presidential candidates of the APC; PDP; and some of the top parties.
According to the report, with fewer northern aspirants, a division of southern votes at the presidential primaries could throw up northern candidates in both the APC and PDP.
Speaking on power shift, a top northern politician quoted in the report said the north has 70 per cent of the votes and would not give it to candidates who don’t understand the problem of northern Nigeria.
Senator Chris Ngige joins 2023 presidential race, to battle for APC ticket
Meanwhile, after months of speculations, Senator Chris Ngige has officially declared his intention to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 on the platform of the APC.
The minister of labour and employment made the announcement in his hometown at Alor in Idemili North, Anambra state, on Tuesday, April 19.
Ngige said he has what it takes to rule Nigeria and promised to be a president every Nigerian would be proud of.