Southern leaders ahead of 2023 warn north against attempt to hold on to power

President Muhammadu Buhari

Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural group; Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-political group; and the Ijaw, have strongly warned the north against dumping the south ahead of 2023 presidency.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo of the Afenifere group, Chief Edwin Clark of the Ijaw; and Chukwuemeka Ezeife have all condemned the alleged witch-hunt against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by the purported cabal in the presidency.

Naija Buzz News had reported how the apex Yoruba group alleged that Osinbajo had been rendered impotent, useless and irrelevant.

Also, reports (not by Naija Buzz News) have it that the cabal at the presidency is angry with some decisions Osinbajo took when he was Acting President in President Buhari’s absence. Such decisions includes the confirmation of Ex-Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the sacking of Lawal Daura, a former Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS).

President Muhammadu Buhari had replaced the Economic Management Team headed by Osinbajo with an Economic Advisory Council headed by Doyin Salami who would report directly to the president.

The development is seen as deliberate actions taken to deliberately reduce the influence of the VP ahead of 2023 (when Osinbajo or his political-godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu might declare for presidency).

The Southern leaders however in reaction to the development noted that it would only be fair for power to return to the south in 2023.

Adebanjo in his reaction noted that the north is not to be trusted.

Chief Ezeife in his reaction to the Osinbajo alleged witch-hunt noted that it would not be fair to say that Osinbajo was being sidelined by Buhari considering the presidential system of government we run.

“Therefore, the President may need to give his consent to certain actions and if he does, that doesn’t mean he’s running down that office. I think concluding that way is not fair,” he said.

In his statement regarding the 2023 presidency, Chief Ezeife who was a former governor of Anambra State, noted that; “A newspaper quoted me wrongly that I threatened that Nigeria must be given Igbo President in 2023, but there was nothing like that. We shouldn’t use threat; we should employ lobbying as our approach. It is not just a matter of what we like, we would do what it takes to get power.

“We would organise ourselves in Igboland, make sure that it is only one person that we would bring out. Then, we would lobby, and not threaten, all the other ethnic groups to look at our case. We know that when they see our case, it is a must that an Igbo person would become President.

“If we do all that and we fail, then we would know we are not wanted in Nigeria anymore. If in 2023 they don’t encourage Igbo to become the President of Nigeria, then you don’t want Igbo as citizens of Nigeria and it should not surprise you if they feel pushed away to join IPOB.”

Chief Clark in his own statement noted that it was the turn of the South-East to produce a president in 2023.

“I think it would be too early to make a categorical statement as to whether the North wants to deny the South power in 2023 or not at this point.

“However, it suffices to say that by 2023, based on the unwritten power rotational arrangement, it would be the turn of the South to produce the President of Nigeria.

“It is on record that northern leaders have been strong advocates of power rotation; hence it would be most dishonourable and unpatriotic for northern leaders to attempt to deny the South power in 2023. In any case, no particular section of the country has the power to determine who becomes President without the support of the other section.

“Only the North cannot produce the President without the support of the South. Furthermore, even in the South, the point must be made that it is the turn of the South-East to produce the President in 2023.

“If the South wants justice from the North, those of us from the South must also be fair to each other by conceding power to the South-East in 2023 to give them a sense of belonging.”

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State had some months ago advocated for the abolishment of the informal political zoning in Nigeria. He noted that competence should be used instead.

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