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Kano ex-governor backs 2023 presidential zoning to south

By Idowu Abdullahi

Kano State former Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, has thrown his weight behind a southern successor for President Muhammadu Buhari after expiration of his tenure in 2023, arguing that such would be in line with spirit of fairness and equity that would further promote a united Nigeria.

He said that there was nothing wrong with suitable candidate from the southern region taking the baton from Buhari in 2023, adding that every part of Nigeria has enough talents with required qualifications and expertise to lead to the country to path of development and growth.

With that in mind, Shekarau, who was also a former minister of education, noted that in spirit of fairness, the ruling political party, All Progressives Congress (APC), should zone the presidency to the southern region of the country irrespective of any written and unwritten arrangement.

According to him, rotating the office of the President between the North and South will give citizens the sense of belonging necessary for the development of the nation.

“I have said it before (that) as far as the party I belong to is concerned – the APC, my proposal is that now that President Buhari is from the northern part of the country, he has done his eight years, let’s beam the searchlight to the southern part of Nigeria,” he said.

“Not because we don’t have enough competent people up North. If you say ‘let the other part of Nigeria produce the leader,’ that does not mean you are throwing to the dogs the issue of competence, the issue of credibility, and so on.

“While I agree we should go for the best and, therefore, throw it open regardless of which side of the country, we should also be mindful of aspect of the sense of belonging. You see, we must be mindful of the perception to give some sense of belonging to every part of Nigeria,” Shekarau, who represents Kano Central District in the Senate, said while featuring on a popular TV programme on Monday.

It would be recalled that ahead of the 2023 presidential election, 17 governors from Southern region states led by their Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, have toughened discussion on need for South to be the zone that would be producing Nigerian next president after Buhari completes his tenure, indicating that for equity and fairness to prevail, the region must be allowed to produce Buhari’s successor.

The governors, who argued that their stance was made based on politics of equity and fairness, stated that for the unity of Nigeria, the presidency must be rotated between Southern and Northern regions, saying since the incumbent was from the north, the south should be allowed to produce next president.

According to the governors, they were not concerned if the next president comes from any of the political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), but their major interest remains that President Buhari’s successor should emanate from the southern region of Nigeria.

But in response, governors across the Northern region opposed vehemently the position of 17 State Governors in Nigerian Southern region on power rotation ahead of the 2023 general elections, saying the nation’s constitution does not recognize zoning nor approved rotational government.

They argued that what the constitution approved was that the presidential candidate meet the spelt out requirement by polling highest numbers of votes among others across the country.

Aside from zooning, the governors also faulted the southern stakeholders on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by State Governments as against the current arrangement where the Federal Government through Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was collecting the revenue on behalf of states.

They stated that multiple taxation by states and Federal Government may lead to economic challenges such that prices of goods would skyrocket and the resultant effect would worsen the situation of ordinary Nigerians.

Rising from the meeting which held at the Kaduna State Government House on Monday, the governors who spoke through the Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), Simon Lalong, said that the moves by their colleagues from the southern part, if not checkmated, could truncate the democracy been enjoyed in Nigeria.

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