2023 Presidency: Zoning of political offices retrogressive,…

2023 Presidency

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

The Northern Elders , , has faulted the clamour for the major political parties in the country to zone their 2023 presidential to the South, saying that it would result to damage the North will not accept.

NEF’s Director, and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said this in a press release entitled, ‘ of Northern Elders Forum on from Southern Socio-Cultural Groups’ which was issued to journalists on Friday.

Recall that the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, had cautioned political parties and stakeholders, not to tinker with the issue of zoning and rotation of political offices, especially the presidency, on the grounds that doing so would further threaten the fragile threads of the nation’s unity.

However, NEF described the warning as a failed to heighten the tensions in the land: stressing that the zoning of political offices is retrogressive, unworkable and anti-democratic.

Baba-Ahmed said, “Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has observed attempts to heighten tension by some Southern socio-cultural groups determined to Nigerians into subverting the foundational principles of the democratic process. These include the and freedoms of political parties to their candidates, and for voters to choose their leaders in free and elections.

“While the real politicians are busy campaigning all over the country out of the that all Nigerians must equally in the selection of candidates and voting for leaders in 2023, leaders of groups from the South are busy rehashing old threats and intimidating tactics in a to deny the northerner his right to for his party’s ticket and vote for the next President without limitations to his right to choose.

“These tired tactics will not scare the North, and will not win the Southern the type of support he needs to compete to become Federal Republic of Nigeria’s next President.

“NEF does not believe that these elders speak for serious aspirants and prospective southern candidates when they threaten even the survival of the country they aspire to lead unless they have their way.

“The very vigorous campaigns by aspirants from every of the South against each other ought to remind these elderly Nigerians that zoning is retrogressive, unworkable and anti-democratic.

“NEF’s position has remained consistent. Our democracy will only grow if it respects its own basic , and excluding a of the country from enjoying participation in all aspects of the electoral process amounts to damage which the North will not accept.

“Our Forum encourages all aspirants and candidates to fully participate in all their parties’ activities. It advises elders of groups from the South to behave in a manner befitting their and avoid pitching parts of the country against each other.

“We to Southern politicians seeking the support of Northern voters to assure them that they do not share the doomsday scenario being peddled by some leaders of Southern socio-cultural groups.

“Political parties that Northerners deserving to fly their flags should not be intimidated by scare tactics that they will lose Southern votes.

“The Forum has faith that Federal Republic of Nigeria can produce good leaders who will lead it out of its current if the entire nation opens up to the emergence of the best candidates who do not ethnic or regional labels.”

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