Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello
Kogi governor Yahaya Bello says the president that Nigeria needs in 2023 should be one that can unify the country and build “on the legacies that Mr President will leave behind.”
He also kicked against the clamour for rotational presidency, describing it as unconstitutional.
Mr Bello, a presidential hopeful, spoke on the heels of the resolution of Southern Governors’ Forum that Nigeria’s presidency should shift to the South in 2023. He opined that Nigerians should rather be allowed to make their choices for the best candidate to emerge for the top post.
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The Kogi governor argued that the criteria on who should be Nigeria’s next president should be centered on someone who would unify the country and solve the problems plaguing the nation.
“When we are talking about democracy today, democracy is all about free choices. Give the majority the free will to choose whoever they want. Let political parties not limit Nigerians to who they want to elect into offices.
“When you look at it, I think it is unconstitutional. It is not in our APC party Constitution and it is not there in the 1999 Constitution.
“Today, if you are sick and need to be operated upon, you will want the best doctor to operate on you. It’s not where the doctor comes from or the religion he practices that matters,” he said.
Mr Bello made these arguments at the maiden edition of the Governor Yaya Bello seminar for political and crime correspondents in Abuja on Friday.
He pointed out, however, that if rotational presidency was to be considered, it should be done with equity, fairness and justice, noting that the Middle-Belt and the South-East had not held the position since 1999.
“If we should continue on the sentiments of this rotation of the presidency, from that region to this region, then let us do it perfectly in the interest of equity, fairness and justice.
“If that is the angle you want to come from, let us put it on the table and look at it and we should not just take it from 1999, let us go back to 1960 from independence when Nigerians started ruling themselves.
“You will discover that other geo-political zones as they exist today, have at one time or the other occupied the position of the presidency — either as president or vice-president.
“If we should go by that, then the North-Central has been largely short-changed. Then let us focus on North-Central.
“But if you take it from 1999, then you are talking of the North-Central and the South-East. I continue to emphasise that the best candidate should be allowed to emerge.
“The candidate should be someone who will unify this country, solve the problems we are facing today, and build on the legacies that Mr President will leave behind.”
The governor argued further that if zoning was to resolve the problems of Nigeria, the previous presidents would have completely solved the problems in the zones they had represented.
Mr Bello also urged Nigerian youths to get involved and take charge just like their counterparts across the globe, “who are driving the modern world’’.