2023: Southern Governors No Longer Together, Divided On Zoning, May Consider Northern Presidential Candidates
Governors from the South, under the aegis of Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), are no longer on the same page on their earlier resolution that political parties in the country, especially the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), must not field any Northerner as presidential candidate for the 2023 general election.
One of the Southern governors, who was present at the two meetings where the resolution was made, confirmed the development, Daily Independent reports.
According to him, many of his colleagues have listened to the voice of reason and have “somehow agreed that throwing the ticket open to all aspirants where the best person will emerge is the best thing to do in the interest of peace and development of the country.”
He added that some of his colleagues also agreed with those who declared their resolution on zoning as unconstitutional and that Nigerians should not allow ethnic or regional considerations determine who would become the president in the 2023 general election.
It would be recalled that there had been a sharp division among the 36 state governors on the issue of zoning of the presidential tickets of the political parties.
While the APC, PDP and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governors from the Southern part of the country insisted that the presidency must shift to the South in 2023, the PDP and APC governors in the Northern Governors’ Forum rejected the demand, saying it negated the position of the Nigerian constitution.
The 17 Southern governors from the APC, PDP and APGA at their meeting in Lagos in July, last year, had issued a communiqué where they agreed that the presidency should be zoned to Southern Nigeria in 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term.
“The forum reaffirms its commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful coexistence between and amongst its people.
“The forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agreed that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the South.”
The governors, who again met in Enugu in September also reiterated their commitment towards ensuring that the major political parties complied with their resolution on zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.
Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, had said any political party that fields a Northern candidate for presidency in 2023 risks losing the support of Southerners.
He argued that when President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, completes his second term in 2023, the next president should come from the South.
According to him, “There are about three political parties that are in the Southern Governors’ Forum, we have the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress. All of us are unanimous in our position that the next president of this country must come from the South.
“For us, we are unanimous. It (the forum) is not a political platform. I believe that any party that picks somebody from the North would have to face the whole Southern region because they will not support it.
“It has to come from the South. We are saying that there must be what I will call rotation. The justice of it and the fairness in it are what we are preaching. If my president – President Buhari — has been in office for eight years, it can’t be from the North. The next president must come from the South.”