2023 Presidency: APC chieftains back Osoba on power rotation
•Say zoning, a moral burden on APC •It may imperil democracy ― Adeyeye, Okorie •Osoba, others were deceived ― Afenifere
Reactions have continued to trail former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba startling revelation on understanding for power rotation between North and South in the All Progressives Congress.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, certain chieftains of the party from the North have dismissed the claim of an agreement amongst chieftains of the defunct political parties that merged to form the erstwhile main opposition party that elective offices, particularly the Presidency would be zoned between the North and South.
Former Zamfara State governor and former chieftain of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party, Sani Yarima who had since declared interest in the 2023 presidential ticket of the APC had said there was no agreement to zone the presidential ticket of the party, challenging advocates of zoning to produce the evidence.
But speaking on an Arise TV programme, the former Ogun State governor who incidentally was the chairman of the APC Constitution drafting Committee at its formative stage disclosed that there was an understanding to rotate power between North and South.
He said: “I was the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of APC during formation and there was a clear gentlemanly agreement that the northern part of the country should produce the president when we did the merger in 2013 and the chairman of the party would then come from the South. We’ve had the president for six and half years from the North and he will be there for eight years until 2023.
“Of course, at the end of the tenure of President Buhari, the gentleman agreement is that the presidency should come to the South.”
Reacting to the revelation from Chief Osoba, publicity Secretary of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yinka Odumakin said he believed the narrative offered by the chieftain of the APC.
Odumakin who described Chief Osoba as a nobleman of integrity said he could not have cooked up the story of what happened in the course of the merger talks to form the APC.
He, however, expressed surprise that the south-west chieftains of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria allowed themselves to be outsmarted by their counterparts from the North whom he said to thrive on deception.
He said:” It is most unfortunate that they didn’t know the people they were dealing with.
” The people they formed an alliance with life by deception. How can you be talking about a gentleman agreement with people without honour, who thrive on deception? It is most unfortunate!”
Chairman of the defunct United Progressives Party, UPP who had since joined the APC, Chekwas Okorie said the attitude of the politicians from the North towards power rotation would not only destroy democracy but the country.
“A person of Chief Osoba’s status actually knew what he was talking about. I was not privy to what happened because I wasn’t in APC then but people should learn to respect the agreement.
“Yes, zoning isn’t in the APC Constitution, but I believe that beyond agreement and Constitution, it is a moral burden on APC to begin to present another Northerner after eight years of Buhari.
“It is politically expedient that APC remains in power but what can make it remain in office is to allow zoning. It will be a monumental disaster for it to lose because of zoning.
“I expect the North to allow power shift to the South. Buhari should even be actively involved. It will help to stabilize Nigeria for the future. Any manipulation against the south will imperil our democracy.”
Another chieftain of the APC and one of the national coordinators of South West Agenda, 2023, SWAGA, Senator Dayo Adeyeye maintained that power rotation was the best option for a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.
“I have said that power rotation was the best for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country like Nigeria, considering our diversity. The principle of power rotation should be respected. Even in the PDP, the understanding exists. That was why someone like the late Umar Yar’Adua emerged as a presidential candidate to succeed Chief Olusegun Obasanjo”
“Nigerians must respect this principle. If we jettison it, our democracy is in danger. So, the next president of this country must come from the South.”
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