Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, has described the quest for zoning of Presidency to the Southern region of Nigeria in the next 2023 presidential elections as unconstitutional.
Recall that the Southern Governors’ Forum, comprising of 17 governors in the zone, last Monday, met in Lagos, and after over three hours of closed doors session, unanimously, agreed and insisted on producing the next president in 2023 after the expiration of the incumbent President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration.
The governors, also, reiterated the call for true federalism and devolution of powers to states.
Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, stated this while reading communique issues at end of the meeting, held at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Meanwhile, Bello, made the remark on Friday, during the maiden Annual Governor Yahaya Bello, GYB, seminar for the media, held in Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.
Speaking on the topic, titled: “Perspectives on leadership and aspiration,” Bello, stressed that Nigeria needs a leader at the present, who will unify the diverse people in the country and build on the existing legacies.
“Zoning is not recognized in the 1999 Constitionis, it’s absolutely, unconstitutional.
“If we must continue with the sentiment of rotational Presidency, it’s okay, but let’s do it right in the interest of equity, fairness and justice.
“Let’s not take it from 1999, let’s go back to 1960. From the Independence, all the leaders we had, you will discover that all other geo-political zones as it exists today at one time had position of leadership.
“In the 2023 Presidential elections let the best candidate emerge who will unify and solve the problems of this country we are facing today, who will build on the legacies of Mr President. It’s high time the youth take over the affairs of this country.
“I have always lead from the front based on equity, fairness and justice. To me as a leader, I will say let us be sincere.
“Younger generations are taking charge across the world. It is high time we look for a credible candidate based on merit and not by zoning.
“As the clarion call goes forth for 2023, one can easily discern by events such as this that the Organised Media in Nigeria is already working hard to crack the complex equation of who the next Nigerian President should be.
“All I can say is that in factoring your 2023 equations, please allow yourselves to be guided by the National interest to input the following factors: Youthfulness, courage, security, diversity, clear records in successfully managing diversity which is where most post-Independence leaders of Nigeria have failed.
“Also very important, the inescapable point of equity, that is, that only the North Central and South-East Geopolitical Zones of this country have not held the Presidency or Vice Presidency, the two highest offices in the land, since the return to civilian rule in 1999.
“All talks of zoning must be the handmaid of equity or we are merely playing dangerous politics and healing the wounds of the country deceitfully.
“If one is able to develop a genuine love for the people he leads, it becomes even easier to take only those actions that benefit the people every time. This will ultimately help you succeed and also secure your legacy.
“Leadership is, therefore, the means to a lot of potentially awesome ends, but it is not an end in itself. It gives you a platform to do good and effect change. I am determined to give it my best now and in the future.
“The state of the nation today places a burden on us as leaders to act intentionally towards national healing and cooperation.
“Tribe and religion, as we all know, are the major components of our diversity as a nation.
“They are meant to be our greatest strengths, working together to give Nigeria a wider spectrum of choices and more competitiveness in the comity of nations, and in the human and social indices of national development.
“Unfortunately, we have steadily mismanaged these gifts and they have started turning toxic on us, becoming, for the most part, instruments of exclusion and coercive politics, as well as marginalisation and discrimination.
“The result is a citizenry at cross-purposes and a nation that is practically at her wits’ end.”
Bello, however, stressed that the country needed urgent re-arrangement in the ways and manners in which “we relate if we are to arrest the dangerous slide in confidence and team-building among Nigerians caused by years and years of mismanaged diversity.”
He continued: “Within the context of Kogi State which is a microcosm of Nigeria itself, our diversity was enough to tear us apart as a government in the same manner it had divided our people for decades before our coming, but that is if we allowed it.
“We refused to allow them, and by working together instead, we were able to leverage on our diversity.
“Tribe, religion, geography and class no longer play a role in the measure of anyone among us. We have Nigerians from everywhere helping us to move Kogi State forward, right from our Cabinet and into other areas and positions.
“Today we have managed to improve the sociopolitical outlook for our people and state and created an intra-state legacy of cooperation and integration which will outlast us.
“This achievement did not come from wishful thinking but by the deployment of 5 foundational mindsets from my day one in office. One, government exists for everyone and every part of society.
“Two, our constitutional guarantees of equality as citizens are binding on leaders to enforce irrespective of their own personal beliefs, feelings and inclinations.
“Three, inclusivity and equal access to government and her institutions are the inalienable right of all citizens.
“Four, Affirmative Action is for every section of the populace and governance is useless unless it ensures that wherever people are disadvantaged or excluded in our society, leadership makes it a point of duty to take action to balance the equation.
“Five, and finally, equity, unity and the fear of God are the principal bedrocks on which any society which aspires to be egalitarian, and most especially a diverse society like ours, must be built.”
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