Power should shift South in 2023, says Ndume
All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume on Sunday said the retention of the party’s presidential ticket in the North in 2023 would be tantamount to a third term for the region.
He said the pre-2015 agreement among the founding fathers of the party favoured the rotation of the presidential slot between the North and the South.
Ndume, who represents Borno South District, spoke on the 2023 succession at a roundtable organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) in Abuja.
He said: “I am against APC producing its presidential candidate from the North. The APC presidential candidate should come from the South. If you have the presidential candidate of the APC from the North, it is tantamount to third term.
“The constitution says the President should serve two terms and we say the North should serve two terms. If you say the North should produce the President again, it means you are going for third term, which is not fair. I believe in fairness, justice and equity.”
The former Senate Leader maintained that from the outset, APC leaders had agreed in principle that the North should produce the President, adding that, after eight years, power should shift to the South.
He said: “I am not the party, but I am of the APC. I am one of the founders of APC. In principle, we agreed that the north should produce the President. Buhari, Kwakwanso, Atiku and (the late) Nda Isaiah contested.
“Rochas Okorocha insisted that he must exercise his constitutional right and of course, the Nigerian constitution is superior to the APC constitution and so he was allowed even though he knew that he was not going to win.”
Warning that the neglect of the fundamental agreement would divide the platform and the copuntry, Ndume said: “Let the candidate come from the South. However, you cannot say you want to be the head of the house, and at the same time, calling for the division of the house. That is what is giving the Northerners the opportunity to say they want to be the President again because if you want to be the President of Nigeria, you must believe in the unity of Nigeria.
“If you want the country to be divided, which Nigeria are you going to be president of? So, for me, I support a candidate from the south, anywhere in the south. If you ask me, I will say each of the three zones in the south should bring one or two candidates and let us go to the convention for Nigerians, especially the APC to decide and whoever emerges, will be given the support to win the election”.
Ndume also opposed the call for amnesty for repentant bandits, saying that as criminals, bandits who have formed a cartel, should be made to face the full weight of the law.
He lamented the current security situation in the country, stressing that Nigeria should not be too proud to seek help from experts around the world to end insecurity.
He also lamented that while the nation was on the brink of collapse, many “Nigerians still trivialise, tribalise and give the situation religious coloration. We are now in this sorrow state”.
Reacting to the call by a Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for the government to grant amnesty to bandits, Ndume said: “My position on this is well known. Starting from the programme of deradicalisation of Boko Haram members, I have been totally against it. I contemplated going to court to stop it.
“You can’t have people perpetuating criminality and you give them starter packs. Maybe many people will then contemplate becoming bandits. That is not the way to go. I will give you an example with cattle rustling.
“The Cattle rustlers are armed robbers to go to the forest to rob the herdsmen of their cattle using AK47. The herdsmen then felt that the only difference between them and the rustlers is the AK47 they are holding and when you sell one cow, you can buy one AK47.
“So, they will then go and sell one or two cow, buy an AK47, then invite a policeman, given him one goat and he will teach them how to use the gun. That was how it started. Then discovered that if you kidnap one person and demand ransom, you can get N10 million which you share with the people on the network.
How you know that it is a big network is that when they are arrested and you ask them of the N10 million, you will discover that the person arrested only got N200,000. Where is the rest of the money? After that parade, that will be the end of it. How can you stop this kind of thing that way?
“Gumi is talking to some people, yes. You can’t say there is no corridor to provide exit for some people who wants to repent. But that does not mean you should give them amnesty and set them free. They should come in, confess and face the law and serve the jail term. If after that, the authority wants to pardon them; that is a different thing. But it cannot not be done blindly like that.
“When Boko Haram took over my local government, Gwoza and declared it as their caliphate, most of our elders could not run and so, they stayed and they continued reading the Quran. Somebody went and told the Boko Haram people that the 75 mallams were praying against them. They took five of them to an abattoir and slaughtered them.”
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