Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), renowned professor of law and civil rights activist, on Monday, said it was the turn of southerners to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023 in order to preserve the unity of the country and ensure justice and fairness.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Sagay, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), also said there was an informal zoning agreement which the party must honour in selecting the presidential flag bearer for the 2023 general elections.
According to him, even though the agreement was not written, the founders of the APC agreed that the presidency would move to the South after the North had completed two terms of eight years.
Sagay also said President Buhari shouldn’t be the one to determine his successor or come out openly to declare support for any of the aspirants, but only support his favoured aspirant with his vote.
“He (Buhari) shouldn’t be the one to determine who will be his successor. There is a process in the APC such as primaries.
“Also in the APC, there is informal zoning. They did not write the agreement down but everybody agreed that after a northerner has spent two terms in office, a southerner will be nominated by the APC as the presidential candidate.
“So, it is the turn of southerners to compete for nomination. The northerners would have completed their turn by 2023.This is just to ensure that there is unity, equity, and no zone takes the other for a fool”.
“So, my belief is that the president is going to ensure that the candidate will be a southerner. He may support a candidate with his vote but I don’t think it will be proper for him to come out to say ‘this is the man I want to succeed me’.The aspirants, who are southerners, should be given a level playing field to contest for votes from people who will vote at the primaries.”
Also speaking on the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader, Sagay said nothing bars the former Lagos State governor from contesting for the highest political office in the land.
“Definitely, he (Tinubu) is free to contest. He is a potential presidential candidate with quite a number of others. Yes, there is no restriction or obstruction stopping him from contesting if he wants to,” he said.