Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) says it will not support any political bloc in Nigeria that has produced the country’s president to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
This is coming as some power seekers from the North, Western and Eastern Nigeria are pushing backstage for regional endorsement for their presidential aspiration.
Though PANDEF is advocating for power to shift to any political bloc that has not produced Nigeria’s president before, it is also locked in a hard tackle with Ndigbo to yield ground for the South-South zone to complete its tenure.
However, at the inception of this subsisting civil rule, Olusegun Obasanjo dominated the affairs of the country for eight years as president. He took the slot of Western Nigeria.
In 2007, presidential power moved to the North with the late President Umaru Yar’Adua as Obasanjo’s successor. Mid-term, he passed on as a result of health challenge and his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, completed Yar’Adua’s tenure and went ahead to contest the 2011 presidential poll.
Jonathan’s presidency was counted for the South-South geo-political zone though the zone is still entitled for another four-year term.
With an alleged conspiracy against Jonathan in 2015, presidential power again shifted to the North with President Buhari in the second lap of his eight years tenure.
With WaZoBia as the dominant ethnic groups in the country, it is obvious that it is only the Bia component of the tripod that is yet to occupy, Aso Rock, the seat of presidential power as its transient tenant.
As a result, PANDEF is urging leaders of South-South and South-East geo-political zones to harmonise strategies on how they intend to produce Buhari’s successor in 2023.
Before now, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency, while in Lagos recently urged the two power blocs to rise up and start negotiation for power ahead of the 2023 election.
Impressed, PANDEF Spokesman, Ken Robinson, lauded Zulum for speaking up at a time when some sectional interests in the country claiming that there is nothing like the zoning arrangement.
“PANDEF believes in equity, justice and fairness as guiding ideals. We have also asked that the leadership and governance of the Nigerian state be based on these ideals. The North has ruled the country for eight years already and in 2023, it is just proper that power should shift to areas that have not produced a president before.
“So, Zulum is in order that power should shift to the South. He should be commended for saying the truth in the midst of people saying there is no zoning. Power should shift to the South–between the South-South and the South-East”, the PANDEF spokesman said.
Continuing, he argues that though PANDEF protects the interest of the Niger-Delta people, ‘’it is also advocating for fairness, equity and justice in the distribution of resources and power in Nigeria”, pointing out that the group recognises the fact that the South-East has not ruled the country since the return to democracy in 1999.
He is, therefore, pleading with Ndigbo to shelve their 2023 presidential ambition to enable South-South to complete its eight-year tenure which Jonathan started in 2011 before leaving office in 2015.
According to him, the two blocs have a cordial relationship and as such, they should begin negotiations quickly on what is best for the country because for him, ‘’Nigeria, at this stage, needs a president who will not represent any ethnic or sectional interests. Nigeria in 2023 needs a president who will represent the interests of all Nigerians.’’