APC has North-South power rotation pact – Osoba

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Aremo Segun Osoba, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress
Aremo Segun Osoba, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Ogun State

Former Ogun state governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba on Tuesday said there is a pre-existing pact on power rotation between the North and the South in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The elder statesman said the fundamental agreement endorsed by the APC founding fathers is sacrosanct, stressing that, it should not be ignored in 2023.

Osoba emphasized that the implication of the rotational pact is that a presidential candidate on the platform of the APC from the South, comprising Southeast, Southwest and Southsouth, should succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

The eminent politician, who spoke on a live television programme monitored in Lagos, highlighted some issues shaping national politics, including zoning, the jostling for the presidency, challenges confronting the ruling party, restructuring and security.

Deal of the day

Osoba’s position on rotational presidency trailed the view of Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, who had urged the APC to respect its zoning plan in 2023.

The former Lagos State governor recalled that zoning of the presidency was a cardinal decision reached by the APC founding fathers, prior to the 2015 polls.

Describing the agreement as a matter of honour, Fashola said it should not be breached.

He said: “The truth is that what makes an agreement spectacular is the honour in which it is made, not whether it is written. If it is written, there would be no court cases or breach of contract because it is a document that is written and signed that you take to court.

“The private agreement you make with your brother and sister should not be breached. It must be honoured.”

Osoba, who was the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC, said as part of the agreement, the founding fathers decided that the South should produce the APC National Chairman because the presidency was zoned to the North.

He lamented that the party had abandoned the constitution drafted by the committee during the merger period.

Osoba said: “We of the ACN were the dominant group from the South and the Southwest is the home and the root of the progressives politicking. Part of the understanding in the case of rotation is the conventional understanding that the presidency will move between the North and the South.

“That was the reason we allowed the chairman to go to the South. I don’t want to use the word zoning because we definitely did not put zoning in our constitution because we know it may go into conflict with the Nigerian Constitution.

“But, there was a very clear gentleman’s understanding that the northern part of the country will produce the President when we do the merger in 2014 and the chairman of the party will then come from the South.

“We have had the president for six-and-a-half-year from the North from APC. The president will be there for eight years until 2023. The chairmanship has moved from Chief Bisi Akande in Southwest to John Odigie Oyegun from Southsouth to Adams Oshiomhole, also from Southsouth. Of course, at the end of tenure of President Buhari, the arrangement is that the presidency will come to the South.

“I talk of the South in terms of the three territories that forced to amalgamate in 1914, which means the Southsouth, the Southeast and the Southwest zones can bid and should be allowed to produce the next president for this country.”