Contrary to media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had, during a meeting with presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC, discussed that the Presidency should go to the South in 2023, the Presidency has said nothing of such was discussed.
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, disclosed this as Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, accused some governors of APC in the North of “trading off” Arewa’s right to choose the next president of the country.
However, the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation, ABATCO, has described the 11 northern APC governors asking for power shift to the southern part of the country as worthy patriots.
The presidential spokesperson in an interview, yesterday, with the BBC Hausa Service, said: “The meeting was among the series of meetings President Muhammadu Buhari commenced with the chieftains and party bigwigs in the APC to ensure the APC presidential primary election is conducted peacefully; and to make sure APC is placed on the right pedestal that will bring victory to the party during the presidential election in 2023.”
Asked if the issue of power shift was discussed at the meeting, Malam Garba Shehu said: “No, that was not discussed. What President Muhammadu Buhari said was that he had called them to advice them that they should go and discuss within themselves, in their capacity as presidential aspirants, they should deliberate among themselves and with the party on how they could bring forth a sole candidate for the presidency.”
When told that some Nigerian newspapers had written that the President was in support of power going South, Shehu said: “Nothing of such was discussed, as even if the President had such an opinion, he did not come out to say it at the meeting.”
When reminded that there were rumours President Buhari might come out to announce the person he was supporting to succeed him, Shehu explained: “What the President was saying was that he was prepared to continue providing the leadership that would lead to the emergence of a candidate through a peaceful and harmonious process that the aspirants, governors and other party leaders would adopt.”
On what President Buhari would do if the aspirants failed to arrive at a consensus arrangement, Shehu said the President would have no choice, adding: “We have to follow the election process.”
Arewa youths kick
Also speaking on power shift to the south, AYCF in a statement by its National President, Yerima Shettima, said: “It is undemocratic to zone Nigeria’s presidency to the south in 2023 because it is the prerogative of voters to decide which candidate they would like to vote for, whether a northerner or a southerner. The masses have not spoken yet and it amounts to imposition to declare that south is the way to go.
“The 11 northern governors did not indicate a single effort they made to consult their people in the region before their wholesale endorsement of the declaration for a southern presidential candidate.
“An important pillar of democracy, which is consultation with the masses, is out of the question because our governors would rather pretend that their wish is supreme.
“Going by what has happened so far, it is now abundantly clear to innocent northern voters that their mind is being conditioned to accept a purely selfish and shameful political agenda of relinquishing power on a platter of gold, like the military was doing in the past.”
Youths protest in Kano
Similarly, a group known as Concerned APC Youths, yesterday, protested in Kano against the decision of 11 APC governors to cede power to southern Nigeria.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, the group’s Coordinator, Nura Bebeji, said: “We are concerned APC youths in the north. We are out to express our displeasure over what we heard in the media on the unfortunate decision by the the 11 governors to cede leadership to the south.
“These are governors who cannot take back one-third of the region that is under the control of miscreants, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers that include states like Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna and others.
“They now have the guts to put heads together to support a southern candidate for the APC all because of personal interest.
“For the slot of the vice president, we the youths of the nation will only accept he who has proven records and will address main issues of concern like unemployment, security and youth marginalization for the party to retain leadership in 2023.
Tinubu Campaign Org hails northern govs
Meanwhile, Director of Media and Communications of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Mr Bayo Onanuga, yesterday said the 11 governors should be celebrated by Nigerians.
He said: “All lovers of peace, progress, equity, justice and stability of the country should celebrate and honour the northern APC governors.”
The governors, while urging presidential aspirants from the region to step down from the 2023 presidential race, said: “The decision to support power shift to the south is in the best interest of the country.”
Daily News Reporters