By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Former governor of Anambra State and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said that rotational presidency was a gentleman agreement reached by the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders during its formation.
Against the background of resurgent debate on the necessity or otherwise of the concept in the nation’s polity, Ngige said it made for the stability of the country.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY to mark his birthday, the minister said that even though it was not contained in the party’s constitution, the framers of the constitution of the APC agreed that it was something possible.
“It is not written in our constitution, but for me, it will make for stability and fairness if it rotates back to the South. I was in PDP, we practiced it. It makes for stability. We don’t have it in our party constitution but we, the framers of the constitution of the APC agreed that it is something possible. I was one of the wise men that drafted the APC constitution with Chief Segun Osoba as head. That’s what we agreed on; that we don’t have to insert it but these are things that could be done by gentleman agreement,” he said.
Ngige said that the gentleman agreement on power rotation was what guided the party during its presidential convention where President Muhammadu Buhari emerged APC candidate in 2014.
He said, “Whether there should be rotation, zoning or not for me is a simple matter. It is a gentleman agreement. Even the American constitution doesn’t have everything written in it.
“When we went for the first national convention of the party to elect the presidential candidate, we told all the southerners to step down. It was only Okorocha who refused to step down and we quarreled with him. People like me quarreled with him from the South East and I told him I won’t support him and I did not.
“So, that is it. If you are talking about merit and competence, you can also enthrone it. If you come to the Southern part, you will also see competent persons. So for me , this is the way I look at it but everybody has his own opinion on the matter but the side of the divide I will stand and stand firmly will be known after May 29, 2021.”
On the chances of APC in the 2023 general election in the South-east, Ngige said he would not be drawn into discussing the issue now because the current administration had just spent two years of its second term.
“I will not talk about the chances because I’m not discussing the presidency and who is filling it next now.
“I feel it is unfair for the incumbent who has not spent half the time. You know in a football match, it is at half time that necessary changes that win the game are often taken so, people should leave the matter till next year, May, when we would have been two years in office.
“That is when our party members should be talking about who will go into this office, wear the shoe, and it will fit and our agenda; the ones the president has achieved , how do we maintain and build on it,” he added.