Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, says southerners won’t support any political party that picks a northern presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
Akeredolu made this known on Friday during an interview with Channels Television.
In two separate meetings, the Southern Governors’ Forum has resolved that the 2023 presidency must be zoned to the region.
Speaking on the resolution, Akeredolu said the forum has unanimously agreed that the 2023 presidency must be zoned to the region for the sake of justice and fairness.
The Ondo governor said after President Muhammadu Buhari, who is a northerner, completes his tenure in 2023, the next president should come from the south.
He said the argument that competence should be used as a criterion for electing the 2023 president cannot override zoning, stressing that competent people are both in the northern and southern regions of the country.
“There are about three political parties that are in the Southern Governors’ Forum, we have APGA, PDP and APC. All of us are unanimous in our position that the next president of this country must come from the south,” he said.
“For us, we are unanimous. It is not a political platform. I believe that any party that picks somebody from the north would have to face the whole southern region, southern government because they would not support it.
“But it has to come from the south. We are saying that there must be, what I will call rotational. The justice of it, the fairness in it, that is what we are preaching.
“If my president – President Buhari — has been in office for eight years, so it can’t be from the north, the next president must come from the south.
“There are many people that are competent. We have competent people in the north as we have competent people in the south, so the president can come from any part of the country.”
Asked about the efforts of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to get the federal government to stop states from enacting the anti-open grazing law, the governor said the association can challenge the states in court.
“Let me be very clear, the position of the southern governors on this is that we have resolved not to respond to MACBAN or whatever name they call themselves,” he said.
“We don’t want to dignify them with a response. We are a government over a people. We are a government over our respective states.
“The only thing that matters to us is that, if anybody wants to challenge our law, let them go to court, we will meet them.”