NORTHERN Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that it is unconstitutional for the southern part of the country to insist on producing the next president.
This was part of a communique issued at the end of the governors’ meeting in Kaduna on Monday.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, who read out the communique, said the position of their colleagues in the South was condemnable.
Although some of the northern governors like Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai had stated that the South should produce the next president, Lalong said the 1999 Nigerian Constitution only made provisions for the candidate with the majority of votes to occupy the position of the nation’s president.
“The Forum observed that some Northern State Governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three geopolitical zones in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation,” he said.
“Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemns the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South,” the communique read.
“The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, that the elected President shall: score the majority votes; score at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in 2/3 states of the federation. In the case of run-up, simple majority wins the election.”
Reacting, Chairman of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), who also doubles as Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement on Monday, emphasised that the northern governors were simply expressing themselves.
“They have expressed and indeed exercised their rights under Freedom of Expression. No one can stop them from expressing themselves,” Akeredolu said.
Last week, during their meeting in Enugu State, the Southern Governors’ Forum had reiterated their position that the presidency must return to the South in 2023.