Former Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, has criticised the position of the South and Middle Belt that the abandonment of rotational presidency in 2023 may compromise the country’s unity.
A communiqué issued recently by Southern and Middle Belt elders incensed Sani, who contended that “rotational presidency is not a constitutional matter.”
The former scribe stated, yesterday: “When the socio-cultural groups in the South and the Middle Belt repeatedly asserted in their recent communiqué that any jettisoning of politics of identity symbolised by rotation of the presidency between the North and the South, which they alleged is a tradition, would spell doom for the unity, harmony and stability of the country, they feign ignorance of history that in 2003, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) from the North contested with then President Olusegun Obasanjo from the South, and in 2011 and 2015, President Jonathan from the South contested with Buhari from the North, and one begins to wonder.
“This is precisely because if rotation of the presidency between the North and the South is a tradition, as alleged, situations where a Northerner would contest against a Southerner would not arise.”
The leaders of Afenifere, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) recently warned against jettisoning rotational presidency in 2023, while pointing out that it would spell doom for Nigeria.
However, Sani remarked: “When such groups, who profess to be jaunty face of democratic values begin to rewrite history in furtherance of their preferences, it means such groups can redefine democracy premised on triple foundation of justice, liberty and common decency in furtherance of their preferences.
“I say this because if such groups regard themselves as embodiment of national ideals and moral values shared by most Nigerians, they are at liberty to cause their preferences of politics of identity to become national consensus, which is binding on the political parties rather than rewriting history.”
According to him, in the absence of such national consensus, the South and Middle Belt should design their winning game plan and use it to canvass for the needed electoral mandate.
He added: “After all, the constitution does not make it possible for any region’s vote alone to produce the president. This is because the president must not only get majority vote, but meets the requirement of spread by getting at least 25 per cent of the votes in each of at least 24 states.
“The North has only 19 states and the south only 17 states, which means that the two regions must necessarily come together to produce the president.”