A former Senator and human rights activist, Shehu Sani has said it is an obligation for the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return Presidency to the Southern part of Nigeria in 2023.
The former federal lawmaker also disclosed that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not strictly consider zoning the Presidency, as it will be more concerned about taking power from the APC.
Sani made these statements in an exclusive interview with SaharaReporters on Sunday while responding to the lingering feud over the rotation of power between the North and South.
According to the rights activist, the controversial issues of Southern states banning open grazing, agitating to collect value-added tax (VAT) rather than the Nigerian government and separatist agitations in the South may be the major factors why Northern governors want to disrespect the Gentleman’s Agreement of returning power to the South.
“Well, first of all, it is important for you to understand that politicians hardly respect Gentleman’s Agreement. That’s one. And, what could have warranted the decision of the Northern governors are a number of issues which include the belligerent attitude of the governors from the South on the issue of open grazing, and the issue of VAT.
“These are issues that could have been resolved on the table, but since things have changed with the North not to concede power to the South (sic). Another one is separatist agitation. I believe these are the basic things that have changed the narratives and there is a likelihood if the situations were normal, they would have agreed with it. But, it has reached a stage where daggers are being drawn from both sides,” Sani said.
Speaking on the two main political parties, he said, “The situations are different with the two political parties. For the APC, it is honourable for the APC to shift power to the South, but the condition is not the same with the PDP for a number of reasons. Number one is that they are an opposition party, they do not have the leverage and the privilege to say this is where the candidate will come from.
“Two, there is no viable presidential candidate in the opposition party who is willing to pump all his resources in the quest for the presidency of Nigeria as an opposition party. Atiku Abubakar remains the only viable person from the opposition party for a number of reasons because he has been contesting for a long time and they don’t have the power of deciding where power should come from.
“So, how they will win the election is first what is paramount to them. But for APC, it is incumbent on them because the President would have spent 8 years by 2023, so it is morally responsible for them to honour it, but in PDP, it is dicey because they are not in power.”