2023: Negotiate for power, Zulum counsels S/Eastern politicians

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Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has asked politicians of southeastern extraction to learn how to negotiate for power if they are really serious about producing the next president in the country.

Zulum noted that any ethnic group or candidate that wants to rule the country could not afford to be clannish but must make friends across the divide.

He spoke in Lagos on Friday at the 17th Chief Gani Fawehinmi annual lecture, themed ‘The constitutional history of Nigeria’s dysfunction: Any pathway to indivisibility and common progress?’ which was an event organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, to celebrate the life and times of the late legal icon.

He said, ““To our friends and brothers in the South-South and South-East particularly, only God gives power but you have to negotiate for power. Negotiation becomes easier when you make friends across the divide. If we negotiate for power, we don’t always get everything we want, but we will normally mention every clause that covers everything we need.”

He advised politicians from both the southeast and southsouth to stop assuming that the other regions are against ceding power to their regions noting that even though God gives power, humans
negotiate for it.

Zulum added, “I said this because I have heard many people say ‘they don’t want to give us power’ but assumptions and projections will never actualise your aspirations. We must all remember that God gives power but human beings negotiate for it. Every interested party must be prepared to negotiate for it.”

The governor, however, said for the sake of fairness, power should return to the south in 2023. He faulted the suspicion that any part of the country could not be trusted with power, perhaps for the fear of secession.

He stressed that there was a need for fairness in the country, adding that marginalisation had become the loudest concern from the citizenry.

The governor stated that one of the pathways to common progress was for fairness to reign in the country.

The governor said, “I’m persuaded that other sections of the country should be given the opportunity to lead in 2023, why not? It is constitutional.”

He added “We need to understand that pedestrian suspicion is not an empirical or legal reason to deny any section of the country from participation in the leadership of this country. We are fast moving towards a point of inevitable tension.

“One of the loudest concerns from the public is marginalisation. Therefore, we must as a matter of necessity create an environment that is conducive for everyone. People must feel the impact of the government and that government is responding.”

The Chairman, NBA, Ikeja Branch, Mr Bartholomew Aguegbodo, in his own case, said the event was to celebrate the life of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), whom he described as a great and courageous fighter who stood for what he believed to be right.

He lamented that public interest litigation, which Gani did passionately, seemed to have become a thing of the past.

He added, “This is a challenge to all of us in practice. Also, this occasion reminds us all that the man we honour today had an idea he lived for; that legal practice is not only for money-making but also standing for the oppressed.”

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