Power Shift: PDP Caucus Backs Southern Governors
Written by MaryGift Sunday on July 8, 2021
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Assembly Caucus yesterday supported the push for power shift in 2023 by Southern governors.
The Caucus also supported the resolutions of the governors who met on Monday in Lagos under the aegis of the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) on electronic transmission of election results and state police.
The Caucus, at a news conference in Abuja addressed by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, described the alleged move to remove electronic transmission of results from the Electoral Act amendment report as “unpatriotic and mischievous.”
Also, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum reiterated his call for power shift to the South in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice.
But he advised Southern governors, who passed a resolution on presidential zoning to the South, to conduct their agitation in utter sensitivity to the feelings of other geo-political zones.
Zulum said while the agitation for power shift to the South is in order, the Southern governors should exercise caution and refrain from overheating the polity ahead of the elections.
He also clarified that his support for the power shift was not motivated by an ambition to vie as vice president.
Zulum spoke on the state of the nation on Channels Television.
He said: “I have said it times without number that I, Professor Babagana Zulum, I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in the year 2023 because the unity of our country is very important.”
“Secondly, inclusivity is very important. Thirdly, I am in the APC. Six or seven years ago, APC had zoned the presidency to Northern Nigeria, based on the agreement that in the year 2023, the presidency should go to the South.”
The governor who admitted that the southern leaders have the right to call for power shift to the region faulted those insisting that the zone “must” produce the next president.
Zulum said: “But again, this is politics. We are supposed to meet and discuss this issue among ourselves, among the political class,” he explained, as he called for caution so as not to overheat the polity in the lead-up to the 2023 polls.
“This statement that people are making that the president must go to the south, I want them to remove the word ‘must.’”
The governor also refuted speculations that his stance on zoning was due to his political interest.
He said: “I am not interested in becoming the vice president of the country, neither the president of the nation but I want to say the right thing.”
At the media briefing, Abaribe said: “After due consideration and extensive deliberations on political and security situation in the country, the Joint PDP National Assembly caucus unanimously upholds the resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) in vehemently rejecting the clandestine moves to manipulate and alter the Electoral Act to remove the electronic transmission of results from the law.”
Abaribe said the move to tamper with that critical component capable of guaranteeing the transparency and credibility of the electoral process would subvert the democratic process, institutionalize rigging, bastardize and frustrate genuine efforts towards credible elections.
“Electronic transmission of results is the only way to eliminate malpractice and manipulations associated with the manual collation of results, including alteration, switching, and disappearance of election materials while on transit to various collation centers.
“The Joint PDP caucus is already taking very strong and uncompromising steps to ensure that the provision guaranteeing the electronic transmission of result is not tampered with in any form whatsoever.
“On security, the Joint PDP Caucus reaffirm our unwavering support for the establishment of state police as well as other measures adopted by the governors to ensure the security of lives and property in the respective states, including those curtailing unauthorized movements and occupation of forest areas.
“We also affirm the demands by governors, that as chief security officers in the states, they must be duly informed before any security institution undertakes any operation in their states.
“The Joint PDP Caucus also lends full support to the demand by our governors that deductions from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the states and Federal Government to combat security challenges.
“These resolutions by the governors, regarding security does not offend but rather reinforce genuine efforts towards guaranteeing adequate security of lives and property given the current situation in our country as a federation.
“We call on governors, lawmakers, and critical stakeholders from other regions to support these patriotic initiatives of the Southern Governors’ Forum in the interest of the security of lives and property in our dear nation.
The Joint Caucus agrees with the position of the Governors in rejecting the 3 per cent share of the oil revenue to the host community as passed by the Senate and supporting the 5 per cent as passed by the House of Representatives.
“As a Joint Caucus, we have set up very strong machinery to ensure that, in the interest of justice and fairness, the percentage of share of the oil revenue to the host community does not fall below expectation.
“The Joint PDP Caucus commends the Southern Governors’ Forum for the continued patriotic stand in always proffering solutions on critical issues bordering on the security, stability, as well as economic and political well-being of our dear nation at all times.