Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has insisted that a Southerner should emerge as Nigerian President in 2023 in order to maintain the country’s power rotation arrangement.

Since the return to civil government in 1999, power rotation has been an unwritten agreement in the nation, according to Akeredolu, and it needs to be rectified right away.

He said this on Wednesday at the one-year remembrance of Prof. Bankole Oke of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, while delivering a lecture entitled, ‘Nigeria: The politics of religion in a transitional society.’

He advised Nigerians to make sure that power did not return to the North under what he described as the guise of a party to a Southerner as its vice-presidential candidate.

The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Atiku Abubakar and Ibrahim Kwankwaso are two of the prominent Northern names contesting for President in 2023.

He said, “A party that picked somebody from the North as its presidential candidate is not doing so in the country’s interest. (Peter) Obi has the right to contest because he is from the South.

“We are ready to give it whatever it takes to make sure power returns to the South in 2023.”

“There appears to be an understanding that power must rotate between the North and the South. This understanding witnessed the contest of two candidates from the South-West for the Presidency. It was part of the unwritten agreement that the power equation must be balanced to allay the fear of domination harboured by the people of the South.

“There is a conscious attempt not to disrupt the extant agreement. There has been a seamless transition from one civilian regime to another since 1999, the longest in the political history of the country.

“The current political permutations raise strong suspicions on an undeclared motive to thwart the arrangement that has been working for the country. The rotation of the office of the President is between the North and the South since the inception of the Fourth Republic,” he added.

The governor issued a warning to Nigerians, cautioning them to watch out for political ploys to use religion to polarise the populace.

Religion should not be a factor in determining those elected and appointed into offices, according to Akeredolu, but rather, it should be about their capacity to deliver.

He urged Nigerians to be hopeful that their country would become great once again, saying that before independence, Nigerian leaders toiled hard to reclaim power from the colonial masters. He, however, acknowledged that the road to reclaiming greatness was taking too long for Nigeria.

In order to solve the rampant insecurity in the nation, he emphasised the need to reform Nigeria and have a state police.

“Religion is currently being deployed most shamelessly by the elites to gain unmerited advantage. The earlier we stop this dangerous and divisive campaign, the better it will be for everyone.

“Any war fought to establish the supremacy of a faith over others can only end in tears. The manipulative skills of politicians currently put to use will aggravate an already bad situation,” he said.

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