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Southern Governors: Next President after Buhari should come from the South; reject removal of electronic transfer of election results from electoral Act.

Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) has insisted that the Nigerian President in 2023 must come from the south noting that this is based on rotational presidency idea in the country.

The decision was taken after their meeting Monday at the Lagos State House in Alausa, Ikeja where the discussed issues pertaining to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), constitutional review and security challenges.

Chairman of the forum and Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who read a communiqué after the meeting, said the forum gave a September 1 ultimatum for the anti-open grazing law to be promulgated in all member-states.

He said the forum also rejected the proposed 3 per cent share of oil revenue for host communities and supports the 5 per cent share as proposed by the House of Representatives.

The communiqué reads: “The Southern Governors’ Forum at the end of the meeting held on Monday, July 5, 2021, reviewed the situation in the country and focused on the current security situation, constitutional amendment and Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“We re-affirm our commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and among its people.

“The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness, and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between the Southern and Northern Nigeria. We also resolved that the next president of Nigeria should come from the south.

“The Forum also reviewed the security situation in the country, and hails security operatives for their efforts in restoring security and safety in the country. We also commiserate with families and loved ones of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

“We also re-emphasize the need for state police, and resolve that if, for any reason, security institutions need to undertake an operation in any state, the Chief Security Officer of the state must be duly informed.

“The forum frowns at selective criminal administration of justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the law and fundamental human rights.

“We have set a timeline of September 1 for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all member-states, and resolve that funds deducted from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund be distributed among states and the Federal Government to combat security challenges.

“The Forum hails the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB and rejects the proposed 3 per cent share of the oil revenue accruable to host communities. We instead support the 5 per cent share to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives. We also reject the proposed 30 per cent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.

“We also reject the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance, but be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of government have stakes in that vehicle.

“In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum rejects the removal of electronic transmission of election result from the Electoral Act, and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.

“The Forum unanimously chose Lagos State as its permanent secretariat and appreciates Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the wonderful hosting of this meeting, and for his good work in the state.”

The meeting was hosted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. It was attended by Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).

Others are Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Emeka Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).

Deputy Governors Philip Shaibu (Edo), Ude Chukwu (Abia), Placid Njoku (Imo) and Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi) represented their principals, while Governors Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Ben Ayade (Cross River) were absent.

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