The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said on Wednesday there would be no going back in the push for the Southern part of Nigeria to produce the country’s president in 2023.
Akeredolu, who spoke at the one-year remembrance a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ibadan, Bankole Oke, said power rotation had been an unwritten agreement in the country since the return to civil rule in 1999.
The governor urged Nigerians to prevent the North from retaining power next year.
He also counselled Nigerians on the antics of desperate politicians using religion to divide the citizens.
Akeredolu has been unrelenting in his push for a power shift to the South in 2023.
He spearheaded the drive by the Southern Governors’ Forum for zoning of the presidency to the region during their meetings in Lagos and Delta States in 2021.
The governor said: “A party that picked somebody from the North as its presidential candidate is not doing so in the country’s interest. The Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, has the right to contest because he is from the South.
“We are ready to give it whatever it takes to make sure power returns to the South in 2023.
“There appears to be an understanding that power must rotate between the North and the South. This understanding witnessed the contest of two candidates from the South-West for the Presidency. It was part of the unwritten agreement that the power equation must be balanced to allay the fear of domination harboured by the people of the South.
“There is a conscious attempt not to disrupt the extant agreement. There has been a seamless transition from one civilian regime to another since 1999, the longest in the political history of the country.
“The current political permutations raise strong suspicions on an undeclared motive to thwart the arrangement that has been working for the country. The rotation of the office of the President is between the North and the South since the inception of the Fourth Republic.
“Religion is currently being deployed most shamelessly by the elites to gain unmerited advantage. The earlier we stop this dangerous and divisive campaign, the better it will be for everyone. Any war fought to establish the supremacy of a faith over others can only end in tears. The manipulative skills of politicians currently put to use will aggravate an already bad situation.
“The solution to the challenges faced in the country will not be found in the faiths of individuals. A person’s religious persuasion is based on personal conviction. It is essentially private. The public space must remain secular.
“Consequently, the current agitations for a faith-based political representation are anchored on a certain misapprehension of the requirements for leadership in a multi-ethnic state such as Nigeria.”
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