By Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja
North Central leaders have faulted resolution of southern Governors that power should shift to the south in 2023.
The leaders, who spoke in Abuja under the aegis of North Central Peoples’ Forum (NCPF), declared they are completely opposed to zoning.
They insisted rather than zoning the presidency, the country should go for “competence and integrity” as criteria for election at every level.
The leaders added every part of the country should be given a fair chance to occupy the highest political office in the country.
The Secretary General of NCPF, Khaleel Bolaji, who spoke on behalf of the group at a press conference, noted the North Central has been particularly shortchanged in the scheme of things in the country.
Bolaji said it was obvious that zoning was dividing the country when Nigerians should work for unity.
He said the position of southern Governors on the Presidency come 2023 was not tenable and should be jettisoned.
He said: “We in the North Central do not believe in what the southern Governors are saying. They are dividing the country more. We should look for the right person to lead the country. We should go for competence and integrity.
“Even if some northern Governors say it, we will also oppose it because zoning is dividing the country.”
Reminded that some Middle Belt leaders threw their weight behind the position of southern Governors, Bolaji who is also Board Chairman, National Orientation Agency, said he was speaking for NCPF with the backing of Governors of the zone.
He said they would support anybody from North Central who showed interest in the Presidency.
“This is North Central; we have the support of our governors. We are fighting for the benefit of the North Central. We’re not fighting the Middle Belt. We wish them well,” he said.
The NCPF scribe noted even if zoning would be considered as a criterion to choose president in 2023, North Central is one of the zones that should be considered.
He said: “If you want to base it on the basis of regions, South East, North East and North Central should be considered for the presidency in 2023.
“We are out to make sure that the North Central is not shortchanged in the Nigerian project. We hold this country together.
“Without the North Central, there is no Nigeria. We have not been given our right place in the country.
“In fact, since Nigeria returned to democracy, North Central has had more votes during general elections than the South West. Our region is the food basket of the nation.
“There has been this agitation that the presidency should come to the South. This agitation is further dividing the country. We should focus on competence.
“For us, we stand for competence. Let’s stop dividing this country. Since 1999, the South has had more years in office as president than the North. We should stop dividing this country.
“We should jettison this idea of zoning. Even within the geographical North, the North Central is being shortchanged.
“The constitution doesn’t recognise zoning of the position of the president. We have the support of our governors. This group was created to fight for the region.”