“I’m not a prophet of doom, but I can confidently say that given my over three decades experience, I’m afraid if the APC decides to retain power, not only the party but northerners would lose woefully… In 2010 when President Yar’Adua of blessed memory passed on, the indication that power should remain in the North was on the front burner. But the North was persuaded to allow the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to be, on condition that power would return to the north in 2015.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been warned not to renege on its zoning formula that cedes power to the South-West in 2023, else it risks quitting the political stage after just two terms.
Umar Duhu, pioneer National Vice Chairman of APC (North-East), dropped the warning in an exclusive chat with SaharaReporters on Monday.
He was reacting to media comments credited to Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), as saying “there’s no law that mandates the ceding of power to the South-West”.
Duhu also spoke on a wide range issues, and accused President Muhammadu Buhari of self-centeredness and failure to provide the right leadership for the party.
He expressed dismay at how candidates of the party contesting at various levels worked for the President’s reelection, but he could not return same gesture, only asking the electorate to vote according to their conscience irrespective of party divides.
On the raging crisis involving the selection of National Assembly leadership, Duhu feels Buhari, rather than Adams Oshiomhole, should be blamed for APC’s plans to foist Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila on the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“I don’t see Oshiomhole as the originator of the problem; I’ve alluded that to the Commander in Chief, who is the National Leader of the party,” he said.
“It is very unfortunate for anyone to think you can cow people elected as legislators, people who are seasoned administrators in their own rights. The attempt to foist leadership on members of the National Assembly is undemocratic.
“I believe if APC does not play carefully, and use persuasive diplomacy, it is going to lose, and in the end we’re likely going to vote in a PDP President of the Senate.”
On Babachir’s “no power shift” saga, a statement widely considered as flying a kite on behalf of some hardcore northern elements, Duhu counselled them to perish the idea.
Babachir had absolved the APC of any commitment to any such obligation of respecting rotational presidency agreement, and hinted he was also a ready presidential candidate in 2023.
Duhu therefore reacted in a stern warning that any attempt to retain power in the north beyond 2023 would be resisted by all democratic forces in the country.
“I’m not a prophet of doom, but I can confidently say that given my over three decades experience, I’m afraid if the APC decides to retain power, not only the party but northerners would lose woefully,” he said.
Tracing the history of rotational presidency to late President Umar Yar’Adua, he highlighted that former President Goodluck Jonathan was ousted because he reneged on an earlier zoning ceding power to the North.
“In 2010 when President Yar’Adua of blessed memory passed on, the indication that power should remain in the North was on the front burner.
“But the North was persuaded to allow the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to be, on condition that power would return to the north in 2015.
“That political diplomacy was prelude to APC’s victory. It was not as if we were more popular or more strategic than the PDP; the overriding sentiment was that power must shift to the north for eight years.”
He described as unfortunate, Babachir’s attempt to chart a wrong course for the party, saying: “It beats my imagination that B. D. Lawal is making such postulations, because here is a man standing a trial bothering on credibility.”
Duhu consequently charged the party’s national hierarchy to discountenance Babachir’s comments and continue to pursue principles of fairness, equity and national unity.