The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) on Sunday countered the Southern Governors’ Forum on the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket, saying the North will not support any zoning arrangement.
Yerima Shetimma, leader of the Northern youth coalition, told Daily Independent that any political party that zones its presidential ticket to any region is “on its own”.
The 19 Southern governors from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in their meeting in Lagos in July had issued a communiqué where they agreed that the presidency should be zoned to Southern Nigeria in 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term.
However, Shetimma, who said the North will use its numerical strength to overturn any zoning arrangement in 2023, said no governor can intimidate anybody into zoning the presidency.
According to him, rather than zoning, the North is insisting on merit and competence so that the best and most qualified candidate can emerge as president in 2023.
He said, “That is their personal opinion and nobody can stop them from expressing their views. We are also saying that any political party that zones any presidency to anywhere is on its own.
“Definitely, we will not key into any zonal arrangement or partnership. They can also be rest assured that we have also taken our position on 2023 presidency and no governor can intimidate anybody. No individual or any group can intimidate anybody to say that power should shift to any region.
We are insisting on merit and competence and we are going to use our strength as well as our man power in the Northern part of the country to ensure that there is nothing like zoning in 2023. No zonal arrangement will work.
We will make sure we protect our interest and bring about the best thing that will happen to this country. Nobody can force anybody to implement zoning”.
Shetimma, who also frowned at Akeredolu’s statements, said the comments of the Ondo State governor on the issue of zoning is very disappointing.
“It is unfortunate that you have a lawyer, who is supposed to be a learned person, who is a governor. The language he is using is very disappointing. I am talking about the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu. He cannot tell anybody that it is a must that they zone. We are practising democracy and nobody can impose his wish on others”.