The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the alleged use of threats and blackmail by some politicians in the South to demand the zoning of the presidency to the region in 2023.
In a statement titled: “Enough of Blackmail,” issued by its Secretary-General, Murtala Aliyu, the Forum said the North had never stood against the election of any Nigerian as President or moved to dominate the country.
It noted that Northerners are no longer threatened by the calls for restructuring, secession, or break up of the country.
The demand for power shift to the South had increased in the last few weeks over perceived moves by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to dump the zoning principle ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement read: “A long-running political riddle that has continued to frustrate all efforts at achieving ‘justice, equity and fair play is this: anything and everything in which the North has superiority or advantage or strength is, in the opinion of many Southerners, fake or contrived or speculative and, therefore, unacceptable.
“These Southerners contest the fact that the North has 78 percent of the landmass of Nigeria. They refuse to accept that the North has over 55 percent of the population of Nigeria. They won’t concede that the voting population in the North-West region of the North alone is bigger than those of the South-East and South-South combined.
“They will never acknowledge the fact that all the beef, all the tomatoes, the onions, the beans, etc. consumed in the South, is produced in the North. They concede nothing.
”On the contrary, they say the North brings nothing to the table and is entitled to nothing. Not to an equitable share of national revenues, not to a fair share of employment in the public services or to admissions into public schools.
“If the law says, for example, that election outcomes must be based on one man one vote, they quickly dismiss it as an ‘imposition’ by Northerners. They contest every fact, every principle, including those that formed the basis of our union such as our federation, our system of administration, our democracy, etc.
“As we inch towards the 2023 elections, it comes as no surprise that some Southern politicians are giving their Northern counterparts an ultimatum which roughly translates thus: elect no one from the North as President or we will break up the country!
“But what are the facts? Nigeria’s Fourth Democratic Republic is about 22 years old. Of this, Northerners ruled for only ten years. But in-spite of this, some southern politicians are furious, issuing dare warnings against the election of any Northerner as president.
“It has to be stated clearly and for the avoidance of any doubt that the North is not and has never been opposed to the election of any Nigerian from any part of the country as President. Anything that will be done to achieve that, however, must accord with the law and democratic principles.”