The presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT) party during the 2019 general elections, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has dismissed the agitation for the rotation of the president between the north and south as counter-productive and divisive.
He said such agitation is a “pedestrian diversion from the current subject of devolution and decentralisation of power from the over centre to the federating states in Nigeria.”
Emphasis on rotation would rather than foster national unity and development further divide the country along ethnic lines and make leaders escape accountability as their ethnic base and constituents would always rally around them when they are questioned, he argued.
“Rotation of the presidency will not foster national unity and development, what the country needs is a good president from any region who is prepared and capable of promoting socio-economic development. The talk of zoning of the Presidency is, therefore, a false narrative, divisive and inimical to national development.”
Olawepo-Hashim said the emphasis should be on a president that will unite the country, secure it and transform its economy and not on the rotation of power to the South.
“The envisaged president should not be based on tribe, religion or region, but on an ability to support the all-round social and economic development and provide sustainable employment for Nigeria’s massively unemployed hands. Nigeria would not become a just and equitable federation simply because a southerner is exercising the over blotted power at the centre. It will be more equitable and efficient when the powers are devolved more to states regardless of who occupies the office of the president.”
He said those who seek to lead the country must construct a national platform and build a national consensus behind their programme, and added that Nigerians are ready to vote the best presidential candidate irrespective of his tribe or religion.
“In 1993, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, a southerner, contested on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and scored more votes than Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in Kano, his home state. Also in 1999, although President Olusegun Obasanjo’s home base, the South -West, did not vote for him, he still became president, based on of votes from the other regions. Most of the people talking of how Obasanjo, a southerner became president in 1999 were not there in the PDP. They are oversimplifying issues. I was one of the conveners of the PDP in 1998. I know the proper context for what was done.
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