THE apex socio-cultural group of the Yoruba people, Afenifere, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum have maintained that the rotation of the Nigerian presidency between the North and the South was not negotiable.
Both groups explained that it was necessary for the position of the President to shift to the South in 2023 for the sake of decency, justice and equity.
Speaking in a separate interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, the Secretary General of Afenifere, Sola Ebiseni, said the issue of rotational presidency between the North and South was a national consensus.
He added that there was a resolution at the 2014 National Conference on power shift.
Ebiseni said, “The political culture since 1999 at the return to democratic rule is that the office of the President of Nigeria is rotated between the North and South. With that trend, it is clear, for the sake of equity in the Nigerian federation that the next president of Nigeria should come from the southern region of the country.
“For those who claim that because (Umaru) Yar’Adua could not complete his eight-year term, and that is the reason the North did not have an extra four years, the argument does not stand in the face of logic, morality and equity without bearing in mind the unaccounted 39 years that the North had occupied the leadership of Nigeria almost exclusively.
“We have expressed our support for the declaration of the southern governors that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South. As a result of that declaration, every governor from the South should be gentlemanly enough to abide by that declaration. There was also a resolution at the 2014 National Conference that the presidency of Nigeria should be rotated between the North and the South. It is a national consensus.”
Also, the spokesman for PANDEF, Ken Robinson, said those saying the North possessed the voting strength to remain in power beyond 2023 were not sincere and working against justice, fairness and equity.
“It is human nature; man is a selfish being, and if you allow the northerners, they would want to rule for 30 years. They know the benefits they have appropriated to themselves in the nepotistic Buhari administration.
“It for us, the people of southern Nigeria to stand firm and remain resolute to say that after eight years of a northern presidency, fairness, justice and equity demands that it should come down to the South. The attitude of the southern Nigeria should be that this (power shift) is non-negotiable.
“As we have always insisted, the numbers they are touting (as their voting strength) do not exist. If they do, why are they not being reflected in school enrolments, in the internally generated revenues of their states, the VAT collections in the northern states, electricity consumption in the states?
“The solidarity being demonstrated by the southern governors shows that there is a reawakening. What they have been thriving on is the disunity of the South,” he said.