The National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has said the idea of a northern president in 2023 will not fly.
According to him, the arrangement for rotational presidency in Nigerian politics had become conventional even though qualified citizens from all parts of the country were entitled to run for the nation’s top job each election circle.
It would be recalled that Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai had suggested that zoning of political offices based on region should be de-emphasised because Nigeria could not continue on that path.
Reacting in a press statement on Monday, Okorie said: “I have always had the position that Nigeria does not have constitution that has provided for rotation of power. But, at the same time, the rotational arrangement has become conventional. It is that rotational convention that made it easier for President Buhari to defeat a sitting president in 2015 because 2015 was widely perceived as the turn of a northerner to become president. Since President Buhari towered above every other person from the North, he won.
“In the build up to 2019, the UPP as a party – the party I lead – we knew that any person running for president from the South would be swimming against the tide. So, we decided to allow the North to complete its eight years, by not fielding a candidate for the presidential election, and that was what happened.
“It is that same convention that Nigeria would observe by 2023. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop any person from the North wishing to run, but the person will never be able to win the presidential election. Such persons will be like those southerners who ran in 2019 and never stood any chance of winning.
“Owing to the fact that it is not a law, anybody can run. The likes of El-Rufai can run, if they wish to do so. But, if El-Rufai is able to win Kaduna State, he should thank his stars. Buhari with all his qualities and following in the “North was not able to win on three previous occasions. But when Nigerians said it is the turn of the North, forces came together to mobilise support for him. In the South, the Southwest especially played a key role in making sure that he won.
“If for anything, the contest for leadership in 2023 will be between the Southwest and the Southeast. But, if equity has anything to do with politics, it should be the turn of the Southeast, considering the fact that the region has not produced any elected leader since independence.
“Anybody who believes that the next president would come from the North, based on what El-Rufai is insinuating, is indulging in wishful thinking. I can tell you categorically that the idea of a northern president in 2023 will not fly.”
Orji Kalu Will Receive Full Salaries, Allowances In Prison – Senate
The Nigerian Senate has explained that former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while serving his prison sentence.
Godiya Akwashiki, the spokesperson of the Senate, who made this known on Sunday, December 8, said Kalu will be paid all of his entitlements in full because he remains a sitting senator despite his conviction.
It was gathered that Akwashiki said the convicted chief whip of the Senate remains a serving lawmaker until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgement is given.
He said: “He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level. Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you. All his entitlements will be paid.
“The spokesperson of the Senate explained that even if the Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of the lower court, Kalu still has the right to go to Supreme Court. He said it is only the Supreme Court that holds the final judgement over Kalu’s conviction.”
My Party Started Hate Speech In Nigeria — APC Chieftain
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Joshua Alobo, has claimed that his party started hate speech in Nigeria.
Alobo mentioned the current Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, as one of those involved in activities that can now be termed as hate speech under the present administration.
The human rights activist slammed the APC for allegedly turning around to hound some of those it used to get to power because they are now criticizing the present administration.
Alobo, who is the president of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, said these while speaking on Channel TV’s ‘Sun Rise Daily’ on Omoyele Sowore’s re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) last week.
The DSS was said to have invaded the court premises to re-arrest Sowore less than 24 hours after granting him bail.
Alobo said he was “seriously embarrassed” by the situation as Sowore was “among those who canvassed for the ‘change’ mantra.”
“APC, in which I am a chieftain, originated hate speech,” Mr Alobo, who is the President of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, continued.
“Look at what happened at . . . even Lai Muhammed and the rest, nobody was arrested. Look at the fuel subsidy protest at the freedom square. If not that Jonathan was proactive to deploy soldiers . . . I was in Abuja; even though I wasn’t in the general protest, I was using my vehicle to monitor the whole situation.
“So a lot of showbiz was going on during the Jonathan administration, they don’t look at it as a threat to the government. What is Sowore? They are just making the guy to be too popular, I don’t know him as a person. But they have been reading Sahara Reporters right from Jonathan era, a lot of information has been disclosed and all those things.
“So if a media practitioner cannot express his opinion, then what will he do? And this is a man that has the pedigree of activism right from University. So the DSS for goodness sake should not bring another terrorist group. It is the suppression of Yusuf Muhammed that escalated into what we have now as Boko Haram.”
The DSS had charged Sowore with alleged treasonable felony and cyberstalking President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.
He was first picked up by the state service after announcing plans to stage what he termed the “#RevolutionNow” protest against the Buhari administration.
The DSS had explained over the weekend that it re-arrested the Sahara Reporters publisher because he resorted to “acts inimical to security” after he was granted bail.
Tinubu Should Be Next President Of Nigeria , Says Northern Group
A political group, North Eastern Youth Mobilization Congress, has backed the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Council (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take over as Nigeria’s leader when President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends in 2023.
The endorsement was contained in a statement issued at the weekend in Bauchi by the group’s coordinator, Aliyu Balewa, at the end of the inauguration ceremony of the executive members of the congress.
Balewa said power should shift to the South in 2023 since the North would have served two consecutive terms by then.
He added that Tinubu is a unifying political figure who has contributed immensely to the nation’s political structure and deserves to be compensated with the APC presidential ticket.
“On justice ground, power should shift to the southern part of the country in 2023 since the North has served two consecutive terms.”
“We believe that the best person to succeed Buhari is the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, because he is instrumental to Buhari’s victory in the 2015 and 2019 elections. He also contributed tremendously to the success of the APC in all other elective offices.”
“Therefore, 2023 should be payback time. Let us respect the gentleman agreement by supporting the South to produce the next president. And Bola Tinubu is the best man for the job in view of his political experience, dexterity, exposure and national patriotism,” Balewa said.