Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has clarified the position of the Northern governors over the power shift controversy, saying his colleagues in the north never opposed the presidency going to the South in 2023, but were only against the language used by their Southern colleagues.
The Northern Governors Forum, in a communiqué read by their chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, after their emergency meeting on Monday, September 27, had said
“The Forum observed that some northern states governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three Geo-Political Zone in the south to promote unity and peace in the nation.
Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemn the statement by the Southern Governor’s Forum that the presidency must go to the south. The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected president shall:-score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation. In the case of run-up, simple majority wins the election.”
This elicited wide reactions as many Nigerians condemned the Northern governors for their stand on power shift to the South come 2023.
Speaking in a media chat in Kaduna, EL-Rufai clarified what that the Northern governors were unhappy about is the language used by South’s governors at their meetings in Asaba, Lagos and Enugu where they said: “power must shift to the South”. He said Northern governors were alarmed that their southern counterparts used “must” in their agitation for power shift.
According to him, the word “must” is at variance with democracy, which is characterized by negotiations and horse-trading by parties. The governor recalled that “some other Northern governors had earlier called for power shift in 2023 in their individual capacities to foster national unity and togetherness.”
He added that as one of the governors in support of power shift, he was “called names by our people for making that call.” He argued that the Southern governors could have reached out to their counterparts in the North on the issue, instead of playing to the gallery.
He accused the media of misrepresenting the resolution of the Northern governors on power shift.
“The North has supported southern presidential aspirants in the past. We ‘supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s aspiration in 1999 and his re-election in 2003” he said
According to El-Rufai, power shift is enshrined in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) constitutions.
He said the PDP flouted its power rotation provision in 2011 by allowing former President Goodluck Jonathan to contest.