Northern governors move against their southern counterpart, say zoning is unconstitutional

The Governors of the 19 states in the north under the aegis of the Northern Governors Forum have rejected calls by the southern governors that the Presidency should be zoned to the south in 2023.

This decision is part of the resolutions reached after the governors and traditional rulers from the northern region held an emergency meeting on Monday at the Government House in Kaduna State to discuss burning national issues that include security, rotational presidency, the Value Added Tax (VAT) controversy among others.

This was made known by the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who read out the communique containing the resolutions on behalf of his colleagues.

What the Northern Governors are saying

The northern governors in their argument said that the zoning the office of the President as being agitated by southern governors is against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended adding that anybody elected as the country’s president must meet the constitutional requirements which include scoring the majority votes, and achieving at least 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states of the Federation.

Governor Lalong noted that although some northern governors had endorsed power shift to the South, the regional governors collectively condemned such calls.

On the current VAT collection controversy that has set some state governments against the federal government, Lalong said that the northern governors are aware that the case is before the court, and it will amount to sub-judice to take a decision on the matter.

He, however, explained that VAT should not be mistaken by state governments as a sales tax, pointed out that allowing every state to enact its VAT law would result in multiple taxations, increases in prices of goods and services, as well as a collapse in inter-state trade.

On the security of the region, the northern governors acknowledged the efforts of the federal government and commended the ongoing military onslaught against bandits and insurgents in parts of the North.

Despite the progress made, they decried the alleged high level of conspiracies perpetrated by some judicial officers in releasing and granting bail to arrested criminals.

What you should know

Recall that earlier in August, the Governors from the 17 states in the southern part of the country, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum rose from a meeting recently and insisted that the presidency of the country should be rotated between the north and the south and that the next president should emerge from the south in 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari must have completed his second term in office.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had earlier rejected the position of the Southern governors that the 2023 presidency should be zoned to the Southern part of the country, arguing that the presidency is a democratic office and not a rotational position.

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