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El-Rufai: 'It is foolish for southern governors to say power must return to south'

The south should sit and dialogue with the north, El-Rufai insists.

Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai (right), with President Muhammadu Buhari (left) [Presidency]

Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai, says a resolution by governors from the south that the next President of Nigeria must emerge from their region, is foolish, unconstitutional and goes against the tenets of democracy.

This week, northern governors held a meeting and described the resolution of their southern counterparts as "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."

In a chat with select journalists after the meeting, El-Rufai said no one should assume that they can sit in Lagos or Port Harcourt and decide what the north should do or who the north should vote for.

He added that if the south wants power so badly, it should be prepared to sit with the north, dialogue and negotiate, then agree on who should be voted for, instead of issuing declarative resolutions.

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“We are not saying there cannot be rotational presidency, it can be done but you have to come and sit with the politicians in the north and dialogue and then we agree to give our support to the south.

"But no one has the right to sit in Lagos or Port Harcourt and say whether northerners want it or not, they must relinquish power to the south. That is wrong, it is not how we do politics and in fact, it is foolish,” El-Rufai said.

There's a gentleman's agreement in Nigeria's political circles and within the nation's two dominant political parties, that the presidency should rotate between north and south every eight years.

President Buhari, a northerner, concludes his constitutionally permissible two-terms of eight years in office in 2023.

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