Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade on Wednesday again canvassed the need for the southern part of the country to produce the next president of Nigeria, saying with the expiration of eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari next year, it is the turn of the South.
He said the idea of zoning came about to ensure an egalitarian and equitable power sharing in the country.
Governor Ayade spoke when the All Progressives Congress National Leader and leading presidential aspirant, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, paid a courtesy call on him at the Government House, Calabar.
“Zoning is a provision of our constitution to ensure balancing. It should not be about ethnic or regional domination, but balancing. It’s the turn of Southern Nigeria in 2023,” he said.
Governor Ayade said the country was in dire need of change and a new way of doing things, arguing that with Nigeria’s potential “as around Number 7 in the world in terms of oil and gas deposit, it is regrettable that the country is still importing petrol to meet its local demand.”
While describing Asiwaju as a trans-generational leader and political strategist, the governor said Asíwájú Tinubu has the capacity, experience and exposure to lead and is more than qualified to be Nigeria’s president.
Ayade said history would be kind to Tinubu as the man who propelled the APC to power in 2015, adding that the APC leader was a cornerstone of the party’s success.
He said he has a long standing excellent relationship with Asíwájú, pointing out that each time he sought his advice on issues, he always got it.
“Thank you for your insensitivity to party affiliation, to age difference, to religion and to ethnicity,” he added.
The APC leader had told Governor Ayade who is also contesting for president that there was no collision in their desires. “Mine is to respect you as you respect me.
“I appeal to you as your senior brother and the first to declare his intention, not to endorse me today but when you get to Abuja, you can endorse me fully.
“We must have that unity of purpose. We must work together not only for the unity and economic development of Cross Rivers, but also of the country. We owe that to the present and future generations,” he said.
Asiwaju Tinubu promised to work with the state for the full development of Calabar Port if elected president.
Joining Asiwaju Tinubu on the visit were Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura; former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima; former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; Presidential Aide, Mallam Yau Darazo, and Chairman of TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, among others.
The APC leader had also earlier visited Obong of Calabar, His Royal Highness, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, who described him a “great former Lagos governor, a great power-broker and a great leader of APC.”