*Warns against consequence if negotiation fails

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, on Tuesday, said nobody should expect the Northern Governors to back their Southern counterparts that power should shift to the South, come 2023, but quickly posited that the knotty issue could be resolved through negotiations if the two opposing sides were sincere, failure of which he warned could lead to disaster or destruction.

Akinyemi, who is also a former Director-General of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and member of the 2014 National Conference, said this in his reaction to the outcome of the Northern Governors, Elders and Leaders’ meeting which took place on Monday, where they insisted that the region would still hold on to power beyond 2023 and would not surrender it to the South.

This was just as they also declared the call for a rotational presidency as unconstitutional.

The Southern Governors had met weeks earlier demanding that the presidency should be zoned to the South, come 2023, saying that it was the turn of the zone to produce the next president after the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, nobody should expect the Northern Governors to say anything different from what they have said on the issue of the rotational presidency, saying that nobody should expect them to “see eye to eye” with the position of the Southern counterparts as they would come up with what would benefit them whether they were right or not.

“Why would I react to that, what were you expecting? No, no, what were you expecting, that the Northern Governors would see eye to eye with the position of the Southern Governors? I mean they are Northern Governors.

“And they would come up with what they think would benefit them whether they are right or not is not the issue. Why do you expect the Northern Governors to endorse what the Southern Governors want? Why? he queried.

“That is their own position, they’ve made their own position clear,” he declared.

Akinyemi, while suggesting the way out, said: “When each person is sincere in defending his own position, then we sit down and we negotiate. We will negotiate, you have that conference, you negotiate.”

“And if you refuse to negotiate, then you continue to push the ball towards the cliff, and then you know what would then cause you. The ball would then fall over the cliff, tumble over, there would be a disaster, destruction. Ileke a sa ja sibi kan,” he warned.

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