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The Arewa Youth Consulta­tive Forum (AYCF) on Sunday countered the Southern Gov­ernors’ Forum on the issue of zoning of the 2023 presiden­tial ticket, saying the North will not support any zoning arrangement.

Yerima Shetimma, leader of the Northern youth coali­tion, told Daily Independent that any political party that zones its presidential ticket to any region is “on its own”.

The 19 Southern governors from the ruling All Progres­sives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Dem­ocratic Party (PDP) in their meeting in Lagos in July had issued a communiqué where they agreed that the presiden­cy should be zoned to South­ern Nigeria in 2023 when Pres­ident Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term.

However, Shetimma, who said the North will use its nu­merical strength to overturn any zoning arrangement in 2023, said no governor can in­timidate anybody into zoning the presidency.

According to him, rath­er than zoning, the North is insisting on merit and com­petence so that the best and most qualified candidate can emerge as president in 2023.

He said, “That is their per­sonal opinion and nobody can stop them from expressing their views. We are also say­ing that any political party that zones any presidency to anywhere is on its own.

“Definitely, we will not key into any zonal arrangement or partnership. They can also be rest assured that we have also taken our position on 2023 presidency and no governor can intimidate anybody. No individual or any group can intimidate anybody to say that power should shift to any region.

“We are insisting on merit and competence and we are going to use our strength as well as our man power in the Northern part of the country to ensure that there is nothing like zoning in 2023. No zonal arrangement will work.

“We will make sure we protect our interest and bring about the best thing that will happen to this country. No­body can force anybody to implement zoning”.

Shetimma, who also frowned at Akeredolu’s state­ments, said the comments of the Ondo State governor on the issue of zoning is very disappointing.

“It is unfortunate that you have a lawyer, who is supposed to be a learned per­son, who is a governor. The language he is using is very disappointing. I am talking about the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu. He cannot tell anybody that it is a must that they zone. We are practising democracy and nobody can impose his wish on others”.

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