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North Afraid Southern President May Lead To Nigeria’s Break-up

As Nigeria’s two major political parties struggle to shake off the ensuing schism over power rotation in 2023, a former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has stated that the latest quest by the North to retain power was due to the fear that a southern president could accelerate break-up of the country.

Sani who was a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress,APC, and won election into the 8th Senate on the platform of the party, stated this on Monday in Abuja while fielding questions on the ensuing controversy on power rotation among the various component units in Nigeria.

While members of the APC from the South have stated many times that there exists a gentleman agreement that after the expiration of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, power would shift to the South, the North has however chosen to ignore the arrangement, saying power rotation breeds poor leadership.

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, on the other hand has zoned its National Chairman position to the North, with the hope that its presidential candidate would come from the South.

The issue has led to in-fighting among the two leading political parties and has pitted the North against the South.

However, Sani, who is never shy of controversy, has provided an insight into the thinking of the North saying that the ensuing agitations across the South is causing anxiety and fear in the North, which believes a southern President would not be willing to suppress.

Critics in the south have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being eager to deploy the military to clampdown on separatists while ignoring bandits in the North despite the high level of insecurity in the region.

However, Sani said the North’s major concern is the possibility of Nigeria breaking up under a southern president, adding that “Politicians hardly honour gentleman’s agreement.”

Sani stated further that the belligerent attitude of southern governors on open grazing and Value Added Tax has also spurred the North into kicking against ceding power to the South.

The former lawmaker pointed out that collection of VAT by states is not in the interest of states in the north, and a president from the south can easily make it happen.

Sani also commented on the different situations in the two biggest parties and how they may react to 2023 presidency going to the south.

He said the two main parties have different targets because of their unique circumstances. He pointed out that “the separatist agitation have changed the narrative of the North, and there is a likelihood if the situation were normal, they (North) would have agreed but it has reached a stage where daggers are drawn.”

He further averred that, “For the APC, it is honourable for the party to shift power to the south, but the condition is not the same with the PDP,” pointing out that the, “PDP do not have the leverage and the privilege to say this is where the candidate will come from.

“There is no viable presidential candidate in the opposition party who is willing to pump all his resources in the quest for the presidency of Nigeria as an opposition party. Atiku Abubakar remains the only viable person from the opposition party for a number of reasons because he has been contesting for a long time and they do not have the power of deciding where the power should come from.

“How they (PDP) will win the election is first paramount to them but for the APC, it is incumbent on them to, because the President would have spent 8 years by 2023, so it is morally responsible for them to honour it but in PDP it is dicey because they are not in power.”

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