The national president of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has said that the idea of a president of the North in 2023 will not fly.
According to him, the agreement for the rotating presidency in Nigerian politics had become conventional even though qualified citizens from all parts of the country had the right to run for the highest position of the nation in each electoral circle.
GISTOK recalls that the governor of the state of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, had suggested that the zoning of political offices based in the region should be less emphasized because Nigeria could not continue on that path.
Reacting in a press release on Monday, Okorie said: “I have always had the position that Nigeria does not have a constitution that provides for the rotation of power. But, at the same time, the rotational arrangement has become conventional. It is that rotational convention that made it easier for President Buhari to defeat a president in office in 2015 because 2015 was widely perceived as the turn of a northerner to become president. Since President Buhari rose above all other people in the North, he won.
“In the period before 2019, the UPP as a party, the party I lead, we knew that anyone who ran for president of the South would be swimming against the current. So, we decided to allow the North to complete its eight years, by not presenting a candidate for the presidential elections, and that was what happened.
“It is the same convention that Nigeria would observe by 2023. However, that does not stop any person from the North who wishes to run, but the person can never win the presidential elections. These people will be like the Southerners who ran in 2019 and never had any chance of winning.
“Because it is not a law, anyone can run. The likes of El-Rufai can run if they wish. But, if El-Rufai can win the state of Kaduna, he should thank his stars. Buhari with all his qualities and followers in the “North” could not win on three previous occasions. But when the Nigerians said it was the turn of the North, the forces joined together to mobilize their support. In the South, the southwest mainly played a crucial role in making sure it won.
“In any case, the competition for leadership in 2023 will be between the southwest and the Southeast. But, if equity has something to do with politics, it should be the Southeast’s turn, because the region has not produced any elected leaders since independence.
“Anyone who believes that the next president will come from the North, based on what El-Rufai is hinting at, is allowing an illusion. I can tell you categorically that the idea of a president of the North in 2023 will not fly. “