Governors from the Northern states on Monday condemned the resolution of their southern counterparts on the zoning of the presidency in 2023, describing it as unconstitutional.
“The Forum unanimously condemn the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South,” the northern governors said in meeting with northern emirs.
As the 2023 general elections draw nearer, there have been raging controversies over zoning of presidency after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
While the northern region aims to retain power, the south governors have resolved that power cannot return to the north in 2023.
In July, the 17 southern governors across all political parties unanimously agreed that the next president must emerge from the region. They argued that there must be “rational, Justice, and fairness” in the zoning of the presidency.
“The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region,” the southern governors had said.
But the northern forum, in a communique issued by its chairman Simon Lalong, argued that the southern governors’ stance contradicts the Nigerian constitution.
“The Forum observed that some Northern States Governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three Geo-Political Zone in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the Nation,” the governors said.
“The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected President shall score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation. In the case of a run-up, a simple majority wins the election,” the forum added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the southern forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, last week restated that the presidency cannot return to the north, as the governors, irrespective of their political parties, had a resolution.
“If we have anything that we have agreed, that we have unanimity, it is the issue of the president in 2023. All of us, irrespective of our political party; there are three political parties that are in the Southern Governors Forum,” Mr Akeredolu said while he featured on Channels Television programme.