Against the suggestion by Mamman Daura, nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, to do away with power rotation, a group of northern youths (Arewa youths ) has said that the South should first produce the next president before the idea can be dropped.
Making their position known in a statement issued under the aegis of Arewa Youths for Peace and Security (AYPS) at the weekend, it maintained that a 2023 southern presidency is desirable for the sake of justice, equity and fair play in the country since the north has had its turn.
Daura, considered to be the most influential figure in the Buhari inner circle, during a recent interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC, had advocated merit rather than zone in the selection of presidential candidates
However, President Buhari has distanced himself from the remark, saying that Daura’s postulation does not reflect his or his administration’s position.
But arguing against Daura’s idea, the Arewa youths statement signed by the President of the group, Alhaji Salisu Magaji, said the return of power to the South in 2023 will further solidify Nigeria’s stability and cohesion as a democratic nation-state.
The statement further affirmed that it will be unfair not to allow the South to take another shot in the leadership of the country under the zoning arrangement before it is dropped.
The Arewa youths argued that while they share Daura’s belief that it is time for the nation to discard zoning of the presidency and embrace credibility, merit and qualification to vote the best candidate, it is, however, “in the interest of equity, fairness and justice, that the South should first produce a President again for the country before zoning is jettisoned.”
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The statement added: “Our view is that we support and encourage the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South. They have a chance to bring a credible and competent candidate to run for the 2023 presidency. Our position is that the North should support the South for the peace, stability and tranquillity of the nation.”
According to the statement, “indeed the nation desires a leader that can provide capacity; credible and with foresight and men and women with these credentials abound in the South. So we should allow them to lead us in 2023.
“It is our belief now that if we say the North should continue after President Buhari ends his second tenure, it will affect the cohesion as a nation and destroy its fabric.
“So, our candid advice is that the North should step aside to allow a Southerner to succeed Buhari. It is a sacrifice we must encourage. It is a sacrifice we must partake.
“Thereafter, by 2031 after the South has taken another shot, we can now be talking strictly about embracing credibility and competence irrespective of the geographical zones to determine who occupies the presidential seat.
“At that point, it is strictly who has the quality and capacity to provide and sustain the growth and development of our nation and not where you come from.”
The Arewa, therefore, advised proponents from the discontinuation of the rotational presidency to tarry awhile to give the South one more chance to rule the country before the idea is jettison.
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