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Northern governors condemn 'unconstitutional' demand for southern President in 2023

The governors say the demand is contrary to the spirit of the 1999 constitution.

A meeting of the Northern Governors' Forum [KDSG]

The Northern Governors' Forum (NGF) on Monday, September 27, 2021 said the demand by their southern colleagues that the next president must be from the southern region is unconstitutional.

There's an unwritten agreement on the rotation of the presidency between the north and the south; and with the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, set to end his second term in 2023, the Southern Governors' Forum (SGF) has made repeated demands that a southerner must replace him.

However, the NGF, after an emergency meeting on Monday condemned the position of their southern colleagues, even though some of the northern governors have in the past agreed with the sentiment.

"The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected President shall: score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation.

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"In the case of run-up, simple majority wins the election," the governors said.

The northern governors also opposed the position of the southern governors on collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).

The SGF recently backed the battle of the Rivers State government to collect VAT instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), but the NGF said on Monday their colleagues are confused.

"If every state enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxation will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapse in interstate trade," NGF chairman, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said.

The Forum said it's keeping a keen eye on the ruling of the Supreme Court on the case between the Rivers State government and the Federal Government.

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