Worried by incessant face-offs between the North and South over power shift, some concerned Nigerians have called on the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to accommodate rotational presidency.
In separate interactions with The Guardian, yesterday, national chairman of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralphs Nwosu; former member, House of Representatives from Epe Federal Constituency, Lagos State, Mr. Lanre Odubote; and the president, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, Akin Malaolu, said urgent steps must be taken to ensure ethnic nationalities have the presidency on a rotational basis.
They warned that the issue is capable of threatening the nation’s democracy and pitching the country against itself.
Nwosu said the National Assembly should deliberate on how to amend the constitution to include a rotational presidency in a manner that will benefit all the ethnic nationalities.
He said Nigeria could not continue to operate on the basis of ethnic suspicion and fear anytime a presidential election approaches.
“Our lawmakers should make serious efforts to address this. The truth is that rotational presidency will give everybody a sense of belonging.”
Odubote said: “It is the character of the North not to want to share or relinquish power to resolve this issue permanently. The legislative arm of government might need to take a critical look into it.”
Malaolu, on his part, said the North could not have behaved otherwise, having realised that it has the voting strength to bulldoze its way to the presidency.
He urged Southern leaders, especially those in the Southwest “to start sensitising their people to take voting seriously. They should also provide good governance to gain the trust of the electorate.”
This came as the director-general of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr Lukman Salihu, called for a review of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) manifesto to resolve the issue of power rotation between the South and the North.
Salihu disclosed this in a write-up entitled, ‘Nigerian Politics and Question of National Unity, where he argued that the measure would enhance cohesion among Nigerians.
The PGF boss, who recalled how the issue of power shift was at the centre of the gang-up by Northern political elites against the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, urged opposition political parties to spell out power rotation arrangements in their manifestoes.
He argued that failure to facilitate negotiations and consensus is responsible for the cries of marginalisation and suspicion among Nigerians in the geo-political zones.
Member representing Njaba constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Uju Onwudiwe, and the Owerri branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Jude Ogamba, meanwhile, has spoken in favour of power shift to the South; the South East in particular.
Onwudiwe insisted that power, in fairness, should move to the Southeast, saying: “Nobody can say that the South took the presidential position for a long time. How many times have we been there and how many times have they been there?”
Ogamba maintained that every geo-political zone must be allowed to function politically, adding: “Things must be done equitably.”