Stakeholders in the southern part of Nigeria have expressed mixed opinions over the rotation of the presidency between the northern and southern parts of the country.
A former governor of Kano State and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, had on Sunday dismissed the power rotation between the North and the South as well as religious considerations for the president and vice-president.
Daily Trust reports that the Ohanaeze youth wing described the former Kano governor’s opinion as unbecoming of a politician who prides himself as a ‘democrat’, saying power rotation to the South and by extension South East in 2023 remains sacrosanct.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Mazi Chika Art Adiele, also expressed disappointment that some prominent politicians in the country are carrying themselves as people without honour because of 2023 presidency.
According to him, the North has been in the saddle of leadership for years and it is morally right for power to shift to the South, which the South East stands to be favoured because other regions in the South have already produced presidents.
However, a grassroots mobilizer and chieftain of the PDP, Mr. Fortune Oyadonghan, said the party should throw the 2023 presidency open to all members who want to contest, instead of limiting people’s ambitions because of zoning.
He said the party stood to gain and achieve victory if it opened the contest to all sections of the country.
He said: “2023 presidency should be thrown open, if high calibre members like Rabiu Kwankwaso, who has been in the party from day one wants to contest, he should be given a chance.”
When contacted, Afenifere declined to comment on the position of Kwankwaso.
However, the group had consistently advocated for the presidency to be zoned to the South while at the same time agitating for restructuring before the conduct of the 2023 elections.
A former APC publicity secretary in Lagos, Chief Joe Igbokwe, in an interview with Daily Trust insists there was a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for power to shift to the South in 2023.
Igbokwe, who is the leader of Igbo APC in the state, said it is not negotiable that power must return to the North irrespective of any candidate from the North joining the race.
According to him, while other parties might zone their ticket to the North if they so wish, the ruling APC would cede its ticket to the South.
He said, “Power is going to the South. We had a gentleman’s agreement. Let Kwankwaso throw his hat into the ring. Power is going to the South; that is the stand of the party. We had a gentleman’s agreement and it must work. It must stand.
“Some northerners can come out but the gentleman’s agreement we had is going to stand.
“Another party can zone it anywhere just like PDP, saying they were zoning it to the North. We have to balance. Until our nation takes off properly, at that time nobody would be talking about where you are coming from. What they would be talking about is performance.”