Governors Nasir El-Rufai, Babagana Zulum, Abdullai Ganduje, and Samuel Ortom have equivocated on their support for power shift in 2023. The four governors, in a volte-face, joined their northern colleagues in opposing the idea.
Prior, the Kaduna State governor, El-Rufai had said, “The southern part of the country is supposed to produce the president come 2023; I don’t support a northerner to vie for the seat after President Muhammadu Buhari, based on Nigeria’s political arrangement.”
El-Rufai’s Kano counterpart, Governor Ganduje had similarly said he “think (s) the zoning should be respected”. “It is a strategy to winning election. It should be from the southern part of the country, but that will be a consensus,” he said.
Equally, Benue’s Governor Ortom had backed power shift to the south, for sake of “equity, fairness, and justice”.
“Why are you asking me (whether I support power shift), when you know that I stand for equity, fairness and justice?” he asked in a recent interview.
“If the north has got eight years as president, for the sake of justice, equity and fairness, the south should also have it,” Ortom stated.
Speaking at an event, in March, Borno State Governor Zulum could not agree on power rotating to the south. “The issue of power rotation is a covenant between us hence the need to shift the power to the south,” said Zulum, a professor.
Some days before Zulum made his comment, Katsina State Governor Bello Masari had voiced support for the idea. “With regards to zoning, fair is fair. If you ask me, I would, as a person — Aminu — think we should move the presidency to the southern part of the country,” he said.
It is however unknown if the five northern governors still hold their individual views, as earlier stated.
Meanwhile, in the communiqué issued at the end of their emergency meeting, the Northern Governors Forum touted the north’s numerical strength and voting power.
The governors also accused their southern colleagues of confusing sales tax with VAT.
“VAT is being confused by these State Government as a sales tax,” the northern governors forum said.
“If every State enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxations will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapse in interstate trade.
“VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer.
“The reason Lagos account for our 50% Vat collection is because most of the telecommunication companies, Banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos with the resultant and wrongful attribution of VAT.
“Until and unless the Supreme Court pronounces judgement on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub judice and the Northern States Governors Forum would respect this,” the communique stated.