Northern groups, ACF, CNG tackle Akeredolu over Southern Presidency

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TWO Northern groups, the Arewa Consultative Forum and  Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG)  have berated Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), for declaring that any political party that fielded a northern candidate in the 2023 presidential election would lose.

The governor, while receiving members of a group, the Power Rotation Movement, led by the Chairman, Pogu Bitrus, who also doubles as the Chairman, Middle Belt Forum, said the 17 governors in the southern part of the country were determined to ensure that the next President comes from the South.

However, the ACF, through its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, drew the attention of the governor to the constitutional provisions for the emergence of a president in the country.

The ACF’s spokesman in an interview with The PUNCH in Kaduna said, “Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) should know that any presidential candidate, who intends to win the seat, needs votes from 24 states and not 17 (South) and 19 (North). That is what the constitution says.

“As a very senior lawyer, Governor Akeredolu should know the provisions of the constitution. It is, therefore, not possible for a group of states to come together and say we must produce the president. Anybody eyeing that seat must traverse the country, the North and the South to meet the demands of the constitution.”

Similarly, the CNG through its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the Ondo governor should be cautioned as their stance was capable of threatening Nigeria’s democracy.

According to the CNG, as far as the North was concerned, “the idea that we would be directly or indirectly threatened or intimidated or blackmailed into yielding an office which ought to be settled democratically is not acceptable.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, no amount of threats and intimidation from the South would change the minds of northerners regarding zoning,” the apex Northern group said.

“Any president to be elected should be done democratically and not by unnecessary empty expressions by anyone from whatever region and of whatever status,” the CNG added.

The group also warned that “persistent threats from self-appointed enemies of the North are unconstitutional and reckless,” adding that Akeredolu constitutes a threat to the nation’s democracy.

“They are empty threats that won’t work.

“The North will not be deterred by empty, provocative statements from Akeredolu and groups in the South, who believe in threats and hate campaigns as the hallmark or defining elements for elections,” the Northern coalition said.

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