Southern govs won’t support any northern presidential candidate –

From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu has warned political parties against picking its presidential candidates from the north, declaring that governors of the southern states would reject any candidate from the north.

He also predicted that any political party that fielded a northern candidate in the 2023 presidential poll would lose.

He said governors from the south of the country under the auspices of the Southern Governors Forum are determined to ensure that Nigeria’s next president was from the south.

He said those working against power rotation in the country are tinkering with the existence of Nigeria.

The governor stated this during a courtesy visit by members of a group, Power Rotation Movement, led by its Chairman, Dr Pogu Bitrus, who also doubles as the Chairman, Middle Belt Forum.

He commended the group for its approach in involving youths in galvanising support and votes ahead of the 2023 election.

Said Akeredolu: “In about two or three meetings, we have come out and declared that power must move to the south. Only a party that is determined to lose will field a northern candidate. You are now a movement of members of political parties coming together. What we stand for is fair and equitable power rotation. The only thing fair is that after eight years in the north, it should come to the south.

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“Some of us believe in one Nigeria that’s fair and equitable. We have a reason for it and it can be defended. Some people have argued that the presidency should be based on competence. Are they saying there are no competent ones in the south?

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“My brother governors from the south, all of us are determined. Whosoever we pick, for as long as it is south, we will support him. We are saying the president must come from the south. There are people who merit it in the South-South, South- East, and the South-West.

“ I also support your approach. If you are able to mobilise the youths and do not allow the election to be rigged, then we will win. You should also get our women to support us.”

Chairman of the movement, Dr. Bitrus, explained to the governor that:“We are passionate believers that power should rotate in this country and should move from the north to the south. We launched the 40 million ballot movement. That’s the sensitisation of the youth. We launched it for our youths to key in.

“Leaders in the south and middle belt met in Abuja and agreed that power should rotate to the south, that the middle belt and the south should move against any party that fields any candidate outside the southern part of the country.”

Other members of the group were the co-chair, Gen. Collins Ihekire (Rtd) representing Ohaneze Ndigbo; National Organising Secretary of Afenifere, Abagun Kole Omololu; representative of Yoruba Council of Elders, Ayodele Oni; National Publicity Secretary of Afenfere, Jaye Ajayi; National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken. Robinson and Kennedy Iyere, National Coordinator of Power-shift Movement & Forty Million Ballots, among others.

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