The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has opposed the zoning arrangement by political parties, describing it as unconstitutional and a plot to intimidate the north from contesting for the presidency in 2023.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said the group aligns with the position of the Northern Governors’ Forum, asking the political parties to jettison the idea of zoning the post to the southern region of Nigeria.
According to him, the north will not be obliged to any zoning arrangement for elective positions in the forthcoming general election.
“We find the renewed desperation by the south to threaten [the] northern people’s right to franchise a deliberate attempt to bastardise democracy, cause greater instability in the guise of contentious undemocratic power shift arrangement and therefore unacceptable,” he said.
“The CNG after due consultation with stakeholders, leaders and elders has categorically resolved to firmly and solidly align completely with the position taken by the Northern Elders Forum as expressed by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and that of the Northern Governors’ Forum that zoning of elective positions is unconstitutional, undemocratic and must be jettisoned.”
The CNG spokesman further explained that the northern region is a major stakeholder in Nigeria, especially with respect to elections.
The group’s comment came eight days after the governors of the 19 northern states opposed the call by their southern counterparts that the Presidency should be zoned to the south in 2023.
After an emergency meeting with traditional rulers in the region at the Government House in Kaduna State on September 27, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, read out the communique containing the resolutions on behalf of his colleagues.
According to the governors, zoning the office of the president as being agitated by southern governors is against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
They stated that any president elected must meet the constitutional requirements which include scoring the majority votes, and polling at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation.
Governor Lalong noted that although some northern governors had endorsed the power shift to the south, the regional governors collectively fault such calls.