Northern governors in the country have told their Southern Governors counterparts, not to be hasty to conclude that, power must shift to the south come 2023.
The northern governors said this at the Northern Governors Forum held on Monday.
While some northern governors had earlier made their views known on the rotation of power to the south in 2023, some others were no so comfortable with that idea. As a result, the northern governors cannot reach a consensus on power shifting to the south in 2023 election year.
However, at today’s forum, some of the northern governors present opined that, their grouse with their southern counterparts is their insistence that power must shift to the south in 2023.
According to the northern leaders, it is not constitutional for the southern governors to be insistent on power shift; because the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria already stipulate that, whoever emerges as president of the country, must have had 2/3 votes from the states of the federation; and that, it did not state if this must come from a particular region or that power must shift between regions of the country.
In the words of the northern governors,
“… notwithstanding their comments, the forum unanimously condemned the statement of the Southern Governors Forum, (SGF) that, the presidency must come to the south …
They nevertheless said, they respect the decision of some of their colleagues, who openly declared their support for power shift (from north to south) in 2023.
The northern governors again, kicked against the Value Added Tax (VAT) law, enacted by the Lagos State government, under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and by the Rivers state government, led by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The governors are of the opinion that, if every state is allowed to enact laws on VAT, it will lead to multiple taxation; and consequently, the ‘hike in prices of goods, services and collapse in inter-state trade’; a claim political analysts, have said is not likely to be, but that, the northern governors are just trying to protect the interest of northern states.
Recall that, six (6) states of the federation with the least amount of internally generated revenues, IGRs, are from the northern region. While the states with robust IGRs with a contribution of almost 70% to the FG purse are Lagos and Rivers states respectively.
Political analysts are therefore of the opinion that, if the northern states with little amount of IGRs are left to themselves, without FG’s support, it may lead to financial crisis for the states. They also stressed the need for Lagos state as well as Rivers state, to get a commensurate value of what they contribute to the FG’s purse in terms of VAT.
While political parties in the country are still in search of a substantive candidate who will represent the party at the 2023 general elections, power shift from north to south is also a useful digression to be considered by each political party in Nigeria especially by the two dominant parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
A large number of the northern governors attended today’s forum while some others, who were unavoidably absent, were duly represented.