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2023: Power must shift to South, says Shettima

  • Seeks adherence to APC’s pre-2015 North-South rotation pact

Politicians in the north with ambition to contest for President in 2023 were told yesterday to consider All Progressives Congress’ agreement to rotate power between the North and the South.

Former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, who made the call in his closing remarks as the chairman of an autobiography presentation ceremony in Abuja, insisted that power must be allowed to shift to the South after the North must have completed its two terms of eight years by 2023.

He said the North as a people of honour must honour its pre-2015 pact to rotate power between the North and the South.

The book titled: “Standing for truth with courage” was authored by a former Vice Chancellor of University of Maiduguri, Emeritus Prof. Njidda Mamadu Gadzama.

The book launch was part of the activities to mark the 80th birthday anniversary of Prof. Gadzama.

Shettima said: “There’s a gentleman agreement in the APC at its formative stage for power to rotate between the North and the South. And even in the colony of thieves, there exists a code of moral behaviour.

“Just because we are politicians, how can we believe anything goes? NO!!!. We should have minimal thresholds below which we shouldn’t operate.

“President Buhari with his 12 million votes could not become the President on three attempts until we had a handshake across the river.

“We are an honourable people and we have to honour our commitment to that pact. The irreducible minimum is for a power shift to Southern Nigeria, unless the advocates of power retention have a hidden agenda for the dismemberment of the nation.

“And to be fair to the President, he has neither endorsed nor showed preference for any of the gladiators.”

He added: “With all sense of modesty, if there’s any title for a political godson, I can comfortably claim to be President Buhari’s eldest political son.

“In both 2015 and 2019 presidential elections, President Buhari garnered the highest quantum of votes, percentage wise, not in his native Katsina State, not in Kaduna where he calls home for the past five decades, certainly not in Kano with a substantial Daurawa community nor in Jigawa with his filial ties to neighbouring Kazaure Emirate.

“The President got the highest percentage of votes in Borno, where he garnered 97 per cent in 2015 and 95 per cent in 2019, followed by our sister state of Yobe.

“As the Igbo would say, if a child washes his hands, he could eat with Kings. We have truly washed our hands and are major stakeholders in the Nigeria Project. I believe we have a right to air our views and be listened to.”

He said what has been misunderstood by the theorist of Nigeria’s sociology is that the nation’s so called problems are in fact the ultimate solutions.

He added: “These divisions we consider the tools of anarchy are the balancing forces that have kept us in check. No group has successfully dominated the country because of its heterogeneity.

“So the Muslim elite in North can’t dominate the centre because of the neutralising presence of the Christians, and so are the Christians too in the know of such impossibility of imposing their political order.

“This checkmate is what has kept Nigeria standing, and the minorities saved from the manifestation of the Gramscian theory.

“If Nigeria breaks up, the dominant ideologies in all regions, whether theological or tribal, are going to implode, and this time without a powerful force to check their domination of the minorities within their borders.

“We don’t tend to look beyond the rhetoric of ethnic irredentists. We are all potential oppressors, and some of our seemingly selfless struggles for freedom are disguised pursuits of a domain to dominate others and practise our own version of dictatorship.

“So, a disintegrated Nigeria isn’t going to have such a size of checks and balances, and this is why I believe that 1914, a history we can’t undo, is a blessing in the sense of national stability.

“What Nigeria has not had in adequate supply are citizens who stand with courage. We’ve built succession of political leaders who hold double allegiances to the country, and this wouldn’t have been a threat if the allegiances to their ethnic public aren’t more telling in their decisions.

“Between being called a nation on the brink and forecast to break up in some bogus foreign intelligence reports, Nigeria’s resilience in the past six decades was catalysed by the nation’s tiniest minorities.

“This is neither Tarok nor Kanuri, and neither Urhobo nor Nupe. Nigeria’s tiniest group, whose essence this book emphasises, are indeed the citizens who speak truth to power, this courageous tribe that has defied all labels to guide us towards the path of harmony.

“It’s dangerous to exist as a persecuted group, and those who are fluent in telling the truth have been the worst victims of the Nigerian system.

“This tribe has been utterly ostracised and yet their courage prevails. We are here today because they have not yet gone into extinction, and the future of our self-balancing nation rests on the fluency of their language. We are lucky to celebrate one of them today.”

He said that Nigeria would ever be grateful for the work that Prof. Gadzama did as a scientist and university administrator.

The Chief of Staff to the President and special guest of honour at the event, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, eulogised the author for documenting history.

He said Nigeria needs more people like Gadzama who will stand for truth with courage.

He said even though Nigeria is beset with challenges it shall overcome them and come out a more united and peaceful country.

Gambari said: “Those who wield power are indispensable to any society, but those who will stand up to them are equally indispensable to a society, because that would help decide whether power will govern us or whether we will govern power.

“This book illustrates the importance of standing for truth and with courage. It is easy to go with the crowd. It is easy to go with defeatism, but it is another thing to stand for truth with courage for the benefit of society.

“We are indeed going through difficult times in our country economic, security challenges. But let us recognise the truth that the world is going through enormous challenges in politics complicated by COVID-19 which is not a respecter of people.”

“So Nigeria is part of the world. We are not spared from global challenges. But the way in which we are tackling them and the leadership under which we operate show that we shall overcome. We are going to emerge from our challenges a more united, peaceful country.”

Gadzama in his remarks thanked all the guests that graced the occasion. He described the book as the story of his life. (TheNation)


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