The first son of Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Abubakar Billy, has described as a sign of weakness on the part of politicians in the Southern part of the country for demanding that the presidency must come to the South in 2023.
Billy, who stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, insisted that the 2023 Presidency must be earned by the candidate with national appeal, notwithstanding the part of the country he comes from.
He insisted that Southern Governors “shouldn’t say must, it is not a must thing. This is a sign of weakness”, adding that the North had supported Southern Presidents like Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan in the past because the politicians were detribalised Nigerians who had what it takes to galvanise support across all states in the country.
He, however, said the next Nigerian President must be someone who understands the economy and is able to bring the nation out of his fiscal and monetary woes.
He said: “To me, this issue of rotation is pure politics. In Nigeria, we have lots of other issues that we should be concerned about than the Presidency.
“Like the Northern Governors have said, there is nowhere in the constitution that says there is a rotation. This rotation is a gentlemen’s agreement and I do agree with it; I totally agree with it but it is not given on a platter.
“We need to see people who are proactive, people who have the capacity, the capability to lead this country coming to my area to seek my votes (but) what is happening today is a sham – Northern Governors, Southern Governors would meet and say you must give Presidency to this zone and that.
“It is not done anywhere. That is laziness, these people should move out. The two Southern Presidents we have heard in this country were elected and served – Jonathan and Obasanjo – they were all massively voted from the North here. So, that goes to show you it does not matter which region you come from.
“The person is more paramount, show yourself, don’t just be a common clan or tribal leader, you have to show the Nigerianness in you that you are capable, you know what is happening in Maiduguri to Bayelsa, you know what is happening in Port Harcourt to Taraba.”
Speaking further, Billy said every Nigerian is shortchanged and so the nation needs a leader who can fix the many problems confronting the Nigerian state.
“In Nigeria, everyone is shortchanged, the South, the North, the East, the West, we are all shortchanged and the only way we can get out of the situation is not just picking a leader from a part of the country (but) choosing a leader who can fix our problem.
“I can’t imagine after 61 years of independence, we’ve had Unity Schools, we’ve had the NYSC, so many intervention schemes to bring our people together, yet we are still in our local and tribal courts which is wrong.
“I am a proponent of power rotation or power shift. In my state (Kaduna), since 1999, it has been one part of the state that has been ruling. We now say, ‘No’, it shouldn’t be so, it should go round but you don’t just dash; you have to have the people who have the capacity and capability to come out and showcase themselves, it is not done freely.
“In Southern Nigeria, there are competent people who are good and are ready to rule this country but they should come forward and sell themselves; you don’t just dash leadership just like that.
“We must make sure that in the next election, we put in a leader who is a modern man and also someone who can fix the economy. It doesn’t matter if he is a Yoruba man, Igbo man, Hausa man, Ibibio man, whoever rules this country, so long as he is competent.”