By Ademola Adegbamigbe
When Southern Governors held a meeting in Lagos yesterday, 7 July, they re-affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people. They further agreed that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria “should emerge from the Southern Region.”
However, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, reacted that it “is not a must that the next president of Nigeria must come from the southern part of the country.”
In the words of Zulum, as reported by Vanguard: “I have said it times without number that I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in the year 2023 because the unity of our country is very important.
“Secondly, inclusivity is very important. Thirdly, I am in the APC. Six or seven years ago, APC had zoned the presidency to northern Nigeria based on the agreement that in 2023, the presidency should go to the south.
“But again, this is politics. We are supposed to meet and discuss this issue among ourselves, among the political class.
“This statement that people are saying that the president must go to the south, I want them to remove the word must.”
This, however, contradicted the position of Zulum on 25 March in Abuja at the golden jubilee lecture and public book presentation titled: Strategic Turnaround by the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Speaking on the topic: “Security and Economic Growth: Leadership in Challenging Times,” Zulum, as reported by Thisday, said: “The issue of power rotation is a covenant between us hence the need to shift the power to the South.
“I have advocated for power to shift to the South and I will continue to do so. Nobody should say that I am saying this because I am looking for the position of vice president; I don’t have an interest. I don’t have an interest in becoming the president or the vice president now. Let the Southerners compete among themselves – be it South-South or South-east or South-west. “This is something we need to do,” he said.
He argued that every part of the country should be given a sense of belonging, insisting that the time has come for Nigeria to do the right thing.
Zulum argued that restructuring, state police and devolution of powers would not solve Nigeria’s problem.
If Zulum said the issue of power shift “is a covenant between us hence the need to shift the power to the South,” at the Peterside book presentation, analysts wondered why he now quarrels with the word, “must.” In other words, covenant is as binding as the word, “must.”