Northern governors’ opposition to power shift in 2023 is fueled by rage

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On Monday, the Northern States Governors’ Forum spoke out against its Southern counterpart’s call for the presidency to be moved to the South in 2023.

The northern governors stated this at a meeting in Kaduna, saying the Southern Governors’ Forum’s call was in violation of the country’s constitution.

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Afenifere, and the Delta State Government, on the other hand, said the northern governors’ position was anti-national unity.

At a recent meeting in Enugu, the governors of the south reiterated their demand that the presidency be transferred to the south in 2023.

Although some northern governors had endorsed the Southern governors’ call for a power shift to the south, the regional governors collectively condemned such a call, the northern governors said on Monday.

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They claimed that their southern counterparts’ statement was in violation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, as amended.

They went on to say that the elected President must get “the majority votes, scoring at least 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds of the states of the federation; in the event of a runoff, a simple majority win.”

These were contained in a communiqué issued following an emergency meeting of regional governors and chairmen of the Northern Council of Chiefs on Monday in Kaduna.

Northern governments are awaiting the outcome of the Supreme Court’s VAT case.
Simon Lalong, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, who read out the communiqué on behalf of his colleagues, also stated that the issue of state VAT collection was before the court.

To make a decision on the matter, he said, would be subjudice.

“Until the Supreme Court pronounces on the substantive matter between Rivers and the Federal Inland Revenue Service,” Lalong insisted, “the matter is subjudice and Northern States Governors’ Forum would respect this.”

“The forum observed that some northern governors had previously expressed views for a power-shift to three geopolitical zones in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation,” according to the 11-point communiqué.

“Despite their comments, the forum unanimously condemns the Southern Governors’ Forum’s statement that the presidency must be returned to the South.

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“The statement is in direct contradiction to the provision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution (1999) as amended, which states that the elected President must receive the majority of votes cast in two-thirds of the federation’s states. In the event of a runoff, a simple majority is required to win.

“The Northern State Governors’ Forum took into account the ongoing national debate over VAT collection. While we are constrained by the fact that the matter is under investigation, we make the following observations for the purpose of public education:

“The Federal High Court’s decision calls into question the constitutionality of the VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, 13 percent derivation, National Economic Development Council, and a slew of other taxes currently levied and collected by the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Federal Inlands Revenue Service.

“The state governments of Rivers and Lagos have passed their own VAT laws, and the Southern Governors’ Forum has endorsed this course of action.

“These state governments are mistaking VAT for a sales tax. Multiple taxation will result in higher prices for goods and services, as well as a collapse in interstate trade, if each state enacts its own VAT law. VAT is a terminal tax, not a production tax like excise; it is paid by the final consumer.

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“Another blunder is ignoring the preceding observation and its “overall effect.” Because most telecommunication companies, banks, manufacturing, and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos, the resultant and erroneous attribution of VAT to Lagos accounts for 50% of our VAT collection.

“The matter is sub-judice until and unless the Supreme Court renders judgment on the substantive matter between Rivers State and the Federal Government, and Northern Governors’ Forum would respect that.”

The governors also praised the military’s current offensive against bandits and insurgents in the north.

Furthermore, the forum condemned the widespread use of conspiracies by some judicial officers in the release and grant of bail to arrested criminals. “Because this attitude undermines the fight against criminality, the need for States to develop good and robust intelligence mechanisms has been identified as a panacea,” Lalong added.

Meanwhile, southern stakeholders, including governors from the north, have taken on northern governors who oppose the power shift to the south.

The Delta State Government, for its part, stated that it agreed with the Southern Governors’ Forum’s decision.

“The Delta State Government has already aligned with the decision of the southern governors, so it does not matter whether the northern governors are opposing it,” said Mr Charles Aniagwu, the state Commissioner for Information, in an interview on Monday in Asaba. We were present when the decision was made, and Delta considers it to be final.”

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Northern governments exercising their right to free speech – an aide to Akeredolu
“They (northern governors) have expressed and indeed exercised their rights under the freedom of expression,” his Ondo State counterpart, Mr Donald Ojogo, said when contacted. No one has the power to stop them from speaking their minds.”

Northern governments are working to break up Nigeria – Ohanaeze
However, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, described the northern governors’ position as unfortunate.

It claimed that the North benefited more from the Nigerian union than it contributed.

Chief Alex Ogbonnia, spokesman for the Igbo apex body, told one of our correspondents on the phone that northern leaders must reconsider if they want the Nigerian union to survive.

“If there is any group of people who benefits from Nigeria’s corporate existence, it is the North,” Ogbonnia said. This is due to the fact that northerners bring far less to the table than they take away. Rather than looking for a way for Nigeria to stay united, develop, and grow, they are focusing on how Nigeria will disintegrate. It is simply unthinkable that the North, which benefits the most from this country, would want it to disintegrate.

“If they’re talking about constitutionality, there’s no place in the constitution for it, but there is a gentleman agreement about power rotation between the north and south,” I’ve said before.

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“At the time, Abdulsalami Abubakar was the Head of State and Commander in Chief, and the resolution was reached at the NUC (National Universities Commission) Event Centre in Abuja. Because it was agreed that power would shift from the north to the south, all parties focused on the south, which was zoned to the south-west in 1999.

“After Obasanjo, it went to Yar’Adua in the north, Jonathan in the south, and Buhari in the north. So, following Buhari, it’s expected to head south. That’s how gentlemanly agreement works. It is unconscionable for the North to begin discussing the power that remains in the North at this time.

“As a result, it’s unfortunate that they’ll try to go against the views and demands of the southern governors. As far as I’m concerned, the Southern Governors’ position is the Ohanaeze’s position. “Power should come down to the South,” Ohanaeze agrees with the southern governors.

“I don’t want to believe that the northerners are happy with what is happening in the country today,” Ogbonnia said. Only those who are pleased with the current situation will discuss efforts that will result in crisis and disunity. Today’s events in Nigeria are the result of injustice and inequity. Someone will be very busy orchestrating more injustice than trying to ameliorate the situation and bring about the desired change based on equity, fair play, and justice.”

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PANDEF: Northern governments’ opposition is ridiculous, cowardly, and irresponsible.
The opposition of northern governors to a power shift to the south was described by PANDEF as “ridiculous, cowardly, and irresponsible.”

Ken Robinson, the group’s National Publicity Secretary, stated this in a phone conversation with one of our correspondents on Monday.

Robinson described the northern governors’ attitude toward the southern presidency as insensitive, despite the fact that they had received massive support from the south for the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“The northern governors’ decision is most ridiculous and insensitive,” he said. It reveals them to be liars and cowards. That is exactly what they are, and it is imperative that they be made clear. Their choice is ludicrous.

“No sane person, in his right mind, would argue that power should not rotate after an eight-year presidency in the north.

“Anyone who says there should be no power rotation in 2023, no matter how high or low in the hierarchy, does not love Nigeria. He is one of those who opposes Nigeria’s progress and unity, as well as the establishment of peace in the country.

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“Let the Northern governors and the Northern community know that there can be no peace without justice, and that saying there should be no power rotation is an act of injustice against southern Nigeria.

“Southern Nigerians backed Buhari to become President. Our funds were used to sponsor him, and we can identify the states where our funds were used to support Buhari.

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