The Northern Elders Forum on Tuesday commended the governors of the region for rejecting rotation of the 2023 Presidency to the south as being clamoured by the Southern Governors Forum.
The Spokesman of the NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, while speaking at a press conference in Kaduna on Tuesday, described the demand by the Southern Governors on the 2023 Presidency as unacceptable.
Baba-Ahmed said the southern governors constituted a threat to the nation’s democracy with their demand.
According to him, any president to be elected should be done democratically and not through threats and intimidations.
He said, “We had raised the issues two weeks ago, but we are happy that the Northern Governors have also spoken out that. Rotational presidency is not located in the constitution of Nigeria, but this does not make it illegal, or only means that it can only be handled at the political level.
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“We drew attention to the fact that there are tendencies the 17 Governors of the South to gang up and create a bi-partisan assault against the North on virtually all issues from open grazing, rotational presidency and other issues.
The Southern Governors represent a serious threat to the democratic process. What the democratic process recognises is that there are political parties, there are candidates and there are voters. Whoever emerges as the candidate should be the product of negotiation and expression of popular will.”
Baba-Ahmed stated that the NEF had wanted Nigerians from the Southern part to recognise the fact that the democratic values were still on the ground and sacrosanct.
According to him, democratic values are not negotiable and, as such, southern governors cannot use expressions like ‘presidency must move here or there’.
He said, “There can be a Southern president; there can be a Northern president and nobody should build boundaries around which region produces the President. What is important is that it must be a committed and a very competent Nigerian; a Nigerian everybody can identify with and not a product of region, religion or tribe.