Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader, has appealed to those aspiring for presidency in the 2023 general elections in the north to reconsider their ambition.
Clark mentioned specifically former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, and other aspirants from the north.
He noted that those aspiring for presidency from the north must reconsider their stance for the interest of unity, peace and progress of the country and to avoid “chaos.”
In a statement on Monday by Clark, he noted that the rotation of power between the geo-political zones in the country was to the overall interest and unity of the country.
Clark stated that though the concept of zoning is not written in the constitution, rotation of power is to the best interest of the country’s unity.
The elder statesman said, “Firstly, I wish to use this medium to advise my most respected Peoples Democratic Party chieftains in the persons of former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, and other PDP aspirants from the north, that in the interest of maintaining the unity of this country to which they have contributed so much, to reconsider their desire of wanting to contest for the presidential election in 2023, because both by the PDP constitution and by convention, it is now the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years.” especially the South-East region.
He observed that to do otherwise is to invite chaos, stressing that it would lead to the disintegration of the country.
He believed that zoning has been practised in the nation’s polity even before Independence, adding that when Tafawa Balewa, in 1954, was the prime minister, Nnamdi Azikiwe was the governor-general.
He stated that zoning of political offices, particularly the presidency of the country, is the best antidote to the breakup of Nigeria, assuring that it is the panacea for peace and unity of the country.
Clark opined that one of the reasons why the north opposed Anthony Enahoro’s motion for independence in 1953, was that they felt they were not equal to the south in education, observing that they were not in a position to produce proportional candidates who will run an independent government with the south because at that time, they had only about four graduates.
The leader of Ijaw stated that they subsequently walked out of the Parliament, went back to the north, and swore never to return to Lagos again.
In his opinion, that was what led to the constitutional conferences held both at the Lancaster House in London and at Ibadan, Nigeria, purposely to keep Nigeria one.
He added that the impression was that no one group, or section of the country, should dominate the government of Nigeria at the expense of other parts of the country.
He explained that it is instructive that the nation’s two main parties, the APC and the PDP, have been religiously following the zoning and rotation system between the north and the south.