‘Rotational presidency unconstitutional, unproductive,’ Yahaya Bello insists


Photo: Gov Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, has reiterated his position that the concept of rotational presidency in Nigeria is “unconstitutional and unproductive,” stressing that his position on it was anchored on his belief in constitutionalism, competence and capacity.

Bello had stirred the hornet’s nest at the Maiden Edition of the GYB Seminar for Political and Crime Correspondents in Lokoja when he rightly stated that rotational presidency was not backed by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

Addressing the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Tuesday, the governor insisted that his view was not aimed at downgrading the chances of any geopolitical zone in the country to contest or produce the next president of the country.

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The Governor who spoke through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo explained that his view was completely in tune with the provisions of the Constitution.

“The Governor has great respect for Ohanaeze Ndigbo, just as he respects all socio-cultural groups in the country. His position on rotational presidency should have been applauded by all because apart from being a constitutional fact, it opens the door for all who believe in the greatness of the nation and possess the capacity to move her forward, to come forward.

“The Governor said rotational presidency is unconstitutional. Anyone who wants to fault it shouldn’t engage in lengthy argument. Let the person simply point to the section of the constitution that provides for rotational Presidency. That is the irreducible minimum expected for a legitimate argument on the matter,” Bello said.

The Commissioner stressed that the Governor was not interested in whether there was such agreement or not, but that even if such agreement existed, it was not superior to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should be jettisoned.

His words: “The agreement allegedly made while he was in school over 20 years ago must not necessarily be in force forever, especially when it has not taken our nation to where we want to be as the true giant of Africa, and such agreement is even inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.

“We need a new one for a generation that wants to see Nigeria prosper and that one must not limit anyone who has what it takes to move Nigeria forward. Where he was studying at the time doesn’t really matter, he is saying we can’t sacrifice competence and capacity for mediocrity.

“We have practiced rotation but what have we to show for it as a nation? Who remembers where a good president comes from? The South East can bring forward their best to contest the election. What the nation needs now is the best for the job.

“Our constitution doesn’t respect rotational presidency. It was the convenience of the political class.
The Governor didn’t dispute such unwritten agreement. But he is faulting. We need a young, vibrant and pragmatic President come 2023. We need a man who will be at home with everyone from everywhere.

“Governor Yahaya Bello is working with an Anambra man as Director General Research and Development. He is working with a Borno man as his Special Adviser on Public Relations and a Lagos man as his Special Adviser on Legal Matters. Nigeria will never be great as long as we think our greatness is in the shell of ethnic competition. Let the best emerge in 2023,” Bello insisted.

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