As the debate rages over the region that should produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor come 2023, former provost marshal of the Nigerian Army, retired Brigadier General Idada Ikponmwen, yesterday posited that the position of the Southern governors is commendable.
Idada who was a member of the 2014 National Conference, attributed some of the woes of the country to a faulty constitution. He said the decisions reached by the southern governors at the July 5, meeting in Lagos was laudable and historic.
He spoke to newsmen in Benin City, Edo State, where he also rejected the proposed 3 per cent or 5 per cent for host communities from oil proceeds and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the bill and return it back to the National Assembly.
He said, “Even a casual reflection of those who have been President of Nigeria since inception and particularly since return to civil democracy would reveal that the President, come 2023, should be from the Southern part of Nigeria.
“This demand /agitation is not only based on the needs of equitable sharing of power within a democratic setting but also aggravated by the lopsided sharing of executives offices in the last 6 years of the present government where practically all strategic positions have gone to people of a particular area and religious beliefs contrary to the tenets of democracy and the federal character provisions of our constitution.
“The idea of allowing the best candidate to emerge will have no weight or merit until our electoral processes are truly refined and until every zone in Nigeria takes its turn in the presidency. The southern governors do not therefore deserve any knocks for opting for a president of Southern extraction in 2023. There is therefore no other option but a Southern President after the present tenure ends in 2023.”
On the PIB, he said, “The idea of 3% or 5% proposed as benefit for host communities from oil proceeds while 30% is embarked for exploration of oil in the Northern part of Nigeria clearly reveals arrogance, insensibility, and disdain on part of the proponents of the PIB. Deeply examined, it is an open invitation to anarchy.
“This move cannot be acceptable to those who have borne the brunt of oil exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.”