The South-West caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has commended the former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, for joining the league of Northern elites canvassing for power shift to the South in 2023.
The party said the action had shown that there are highly progressive and patriotic people in the North who have an unflinching belief in the unity of the country and that former governor Yari was one of those leaders.
Yari, had in a chat with journalists, on Saturday, said with President Muhammadu Buhari serving out his second term in 2023, that power should automatically return to the South in the spirit of the rotational presidency that has become a silent convention in Nigeria.
In a statement in Ado-Ekiti, on Monday, the APC Southwest Publicity Secretary, Mr Karounwi Oladapo, said that it had always been his ardent conviction that the presidency can only return to the South with wide consultations across the North.
Karounwi clarified that his earlier submission that power may remain on the North in 2023 after Buhari’s presidency, was not intended to diminish the South, but was made based on the advantage the North commands in the country’s politics in view of their numerical strength.
He said: “With this statement coming from one of our revered leaders in the North, his Excellency, Abdulaziz Yari, our fears in the South are gradually being allayed. If you look at the political configuration of this nation, one would discern that in terms of numerical strength and voting, the North enjoys better leverage than the South. So, I am one of the Southerners who believed that the South has a dimmed and remote chances with North still struggling to grab the Presidency in APC in 2023.
“Politics is about consultations and concession. When you are contesting against a stronger political side in politics, the issue of consultation becomes a better instrument to deploy. So, the South must consult more, rather than relying solely on the rotational principle that had no legal fecundity.
“But with this statement from former Governor Yari and the one earlier made by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, I believe that our Northern compatriots are beginning to see things from the same spectrum like those of us from the South.
“The unity of this country is very important and the principle of rotational presidency remains one of the fulcrums on which it is anchored if the political practice is sustained faithfully like we are trying to do.
“We commend former Governor Yari for displaying statesmanship by viewing the highly inflammable issue from a broader perspective, which borders on our unity and we are grateful to him.
“We charge the PDP leaders in the South to make a similar request from their compatriots in the North so that the country can return to 1999 era when major political parties picked their presidential candidates from the South for the rotational presidency to become a norm.”
On the coming APC governorship primary in Ondo State, Karounwi appealed to all the 12 aspirants to display maturity and harp more on issues that can unite the party rather than those that can cause unwarranted cleavages.
“All the aspirants are leaders of substance in our party. They had toiled and moiled to build a party we could all be proud of and we don’t expect them to resort to brigandage to win our ticket.
“We expect them to be really loyal and committed party men by accepting the outcome of the primary and work for the victory of whoever emerges in the coming election in October,” he said.