The APC and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has expressed support for the emergence of a president from the southern part of the country in 2023.
Ngige who is a chieftain of the ruling APC disclosed that the APC agreed after the merger to rotate the presidency, stressing that zoning and rotation of power create stability, unity, equity and progress in the country.
According to him, rotation engenders confidence and patriotism and ensures that no one ethnic group or section of the country dominates the other.
The former Anambra State governor faulted those saying that no such convention exists.
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He particularly berated the opposition PDP for waiting for APC to choose a southern presidential candidate, so that it can pick its candidate from the North in clear breach of the rotation convention and even against the rotation principle enshrined in the PDP constitution.
“Their top apparatchik thinks they are smart. They want to play a fast one. They are
waiting for APC to go to the South.
Their calculation is that when that happens, they will go to the North. Number one, that will be an act in bad faith because it will mean that they have taken the people in the South-south and South-east that have all along supported PDP 90 per cent in all the elections, for a ride.
“The PDP will be shocked the way the South-east, the South-south and other minorities, and in fact, Nigerians as a whole will revolt. I was a founding member of the PDP.
I was in its National Executive Committee as the Assistant National Secretary, South-east and served in many strategic standing committees.
I was elected governor on the platform of the PDP. I know that the constitution of the PDP is clear on the rotation of power and zoning of offices between the North and South.
“So, if they are waiting for our great party the APC to choose a southern candidate so they can quickly turn and present a northern candidate at a point the dominant mood in the country is for power to shift to the South, then, they are deceiving themselves. Nigerians will shock them.”
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A statement by the minister’s media office in Abuja quoted Ngige as having made the assertions while answering questions from journalists at his country home in Alor, Idemili South LGA of Anambra State.
Ngige insisted that an unwritten agreement exists among politicians and political parties that rotation of offices should take place, adding that it was written down as a constitutional provision in the case of PDP.
Ngige noted that the issue of the rotation of the prime offices in the land is not expressly written in the constitution of APC, but insisted that the ruling party had agreed to rotate the presidency after its merger.
“I was the secretary at our first convention and I took all the minutes. We had an agreement that our flag-bearer would come from the North and after North, it would go down to the South. So, those who are talking today were not there when this agreement was made.
But was it written down and signed by politicians from both sides? No. But we had minutes of the meeting. They are there. It was agreed that there would be a movement between North and South.
“As we were doing the convention and filling in offices, we narrowed down our candidates to about two or three. But, among the candidates, General Buhari was topping. All of us from the ACN caucus had agreed that he was our candidate. CPC had agreed that he would be their candidate.
ANPP was split into two. So, when we went to the presidential convention, he emerged with a wide margin. That is the truth of the matter,” Ngige explained.
He also argued that power rotation is contained in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
He said: “First, Section 14 (3) of the constitution is clear on the composition of government at the national, states and even local government level, in such a way that there should be no actual or perceptions of domination by any single tribe or group of persons from one ethnic nationality so as to engender confidence and patriotism,” he added.