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You were a student when zoning agreement was reached, Ohanaeze slams Gov Bello

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By Damian Duruiheoma, Enugu

Apex Igbo sociocultural group Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Monday slammed Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello for saying that rotational presidency is “unconstitutional”.

The Governor, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Governor Yahaya Bello seminar for political and crime correspondents in Abuja on Friday, argued: “Nigerians should be allowed to make their choices for the best candidate to emerge for the top post”.

But reacting to Bello’s remarks, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement by its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, accused the Governor of embarking on a political adventure that lacks both conscience and principle.

The body said Bello was still a student at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria when an agreement was reached between the North and the South with respect to rotational presidency.

It however advised Bello to support the resolution by his Southern colleagues since age is still on his side.

The statement reads: “Governor Bello, no doubt, has demonstrated a remarkable obsession with ambition shortly after providence paved way for him to be sworn in as the governor of Kogi State in 2015 at an impressionable age of 40.

“There is no doubt that Bello has a date with destiny going by a smooth political ascendancy that life has presented to him. However, we have our fears that he is embarking on a political adventure that lacks both conscience and principle.

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“Governor Bello was still a student, studying accountancy at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria when an agreement was reached between the North and the South with respect to Rotational Presidency.

“The meeting was held at the National University Commission (NUC) Conference Centre, Abuja in 1998. Dr.Chuba Okadigbo spoke on behalf of the South while Alh. Abubakar Rimi spoke for the North. The likes of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, etc were at the meeting.

“The Nigerian statesmen examined the merits and demerits of zoning and rotation of power between the composite zones in Nigeria.

“At the end, it was resolved that the presidency be conceded to the South and that it would rotate between the South and the North in the interest of equity, unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.

“The foregoing was the basis for the emergence of presidential candidates of the mainstream political parties from the Southwest in1999.

“Since then, the patriotic and peace loving Nigerians have adhered to the rotation principle such that at the end of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s second tenure, President Musa Yar’Adua was elected; Goodluck Jonathan and then President Muhammadu Buhari”.

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The statement adds: “The above exposé informs the resolution by the Southern Governors that the South should produce the next President of Nigeria after President Buhari.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor advises Bello that it will serve his interest better if he supports the resolution by his southern colleagues; since age is still in his favour.

“Bello is beckoned to the ethical functional relationship between the morality of an agreement and the legality of the constitution”.

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