ANGER greeted reported machinations by certain leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to yield their presidential tickets to the North in 2023 yesterday.
Following the zoning of their national chairmanship positions to the North, with northerners emerging as national chairmen of both parties, the big parties have been dragging their feet on zoning the presidency to the South. The Northern Elders Forum demanded this weekend that the presidency be made available to all sections of the country.
The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has pledged to join with sister organisations in the country’s south to campaign against the interests of the PDP, APC, or any other political party that zones its presidential ticket to the north.
Dr Bitrus Pogu, National President of the MBF, told reporters in Makurdi yesterday that such political parties would have to contend with regional groups because of their position, and that the MBF’s resolve to have the presidency moved to the South in the interest of fairness, equity, and good conscience remains intact.
He said: “Our position has not changed and it will not change.
If they decide to do that they will have to contend with us because we are going to campaign vigorously against them. We will work against them.
“And if there is any political party that does the right thing, Nigerians will move in that direction. We cannot continue with the way we are and the way things are. If there are a bunch of cowards and people who do not love Nigeria, in both the PDP and APC, let them try it.
“Nigeria is for all Nigerians, it is not for northerners, it is not for Muslims, it is not for Christians, it is for all Nigerians. And if they feel that Nigeria can be dominated because of their interest, and they feel that they will win if they zone it to the North, let them try it.
“Was it the North that gave Atiku all those votes he scored in the previous election? Was it the North that gave Buhari all the votes? The South has spoken, we in the Middle Belt have spoken and they are going to see the kind of campaign we will embark on. Let them try it.”
In like manner, the pan-Yoruba Socio-political Organisation, Afenifere, warned that any attempt to zone the presidency to the North in 2023 would not only be unfair but also fly against the spirit of equity, justice and harmonious relationship in the country.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, insisted that political parties would not be fair if they failed to stick to the zoning of their presidential slots to the South.
He said: “Since the advent of the present civilian dispensation, the presidency has always been on rotation between the North and South. It started with the South when former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled for eight years. His administration was followed by that of late President Musa Yar Adua whose life was unfortunately cut short by death. Yar’Adua was from the North thus maintaining the rotational arrangement. Dr Goodluck Jonathan from the South took over and ruled for six years.