By Victor Ogunje
The South-west caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended the former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, for joining the league of northern elites canvassing for power to shift to the South in 2023.
The party said the action had shown that there are highly progressive and patriotic people in the North, who have unflinching belief in the unity of the country, and that Yari is one of those leaders.
Yari had in a chat with journalists last Saturday said with President Muhammadu Buhari serving out his second term in 2023, power should automatically return to the South in the spirit of rotational presidency that has become a silent convention in Nigeria.
In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the APC South-west Publicity Secretary, Hon. Karounwi Oladapo, said it had always been his ardent conviction that the presidency can only return to the South with wide consultations across the North.
Karounwi clarified that his earlier submission that power may remain in the North in the 2023 after Buhari’s presidency was not intended to diminish the South, but was made based on the advantage the North commands in the country’s politics in view of their numerical strength.
“With this statement coming from one of our revered leaders in the North, his Excellency Abdulaziz Yari, our fears in the South are gradually being allayed.
“If you look at the political configuration of this country, one would discern that in terms of numerical strength and voting, the North enjoys better leverage than the South. So I am one of the southerners who believed that the South has dimmed and remote chances with North still struggling to grab the presidency in APC in 2023.
“Politics is about consultations and concession. When you are contesting against a stronger political side in politics, the issue of consultation becomes a better instrument to deploy. So, the South must consult more rather than relying solely on the rotational principle that had no legal fecundity.
“But with this statement from Yari and the one earlier made by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, I believe that our northern compatriots are beginning to see things from the same spectrum like those of us from the South.
“The unity of this country is very important and the principle of rotational presidency remains one of the fulcrums on which it is anchored, if the political practice is sustained faithfully like we are trying to do.
“We commend Governor Yari for displaying statesmanship by viewing the highly inflammable issue from a broader perspective, which borders on our unity, and we are grateful to him.”
“We charge the PDP leaders in the South to make similar request from their compatriots in the North, so that the country can return to the 1999 era when major political parties picked their presidential candidates from the South for the rotational presidency to become a norm.”