Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the constitutions of the two major political parties in the country support zoning and power rotation.
His statement comes amid the political tussle between the northern and southern regions over which part of the country will produce the next president.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, southern governors have maintained that the next president must come from their region, while their northern counterparts, in a meeting in Kaduna, on September 27, said the position of the southern governors contradicts the provisions of the constitution.
Reacting to this issue on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, the senior advocate of Nigeria said the framers of the Nigerian constitution made provisions in the law to accommodate national cohesion through distribution of power in the country.
Adegboruwa said section 14 (3) of the constitution stated clearly the need for zoning and power rotation to ensure national cohesion, so that there will not be dominance of a particular ethnic group or tribe.
“When we examine various sections of the 1999 constitution, it is clearly written, especially in chapter 2, that the framers of the constitution had envisaged that we were going to get to this stage in our national lives,” he said.
“So enough provisions have been made to accommodate national cohesion, to carry everybody along in governance and to ensure unity, equality and justice in the distribution of power and offices.
“In particular, I’ll refer to section 14 of the 1999 constitution, in particular section 14(3), which talks about the need for there to be a spread in the distribution of offices and composition of government, in such a way that there is no dominance of a particular state, ethnic group, or a tribe should have that dominance in terms of the sharing of power.
“So in that regard, it is meant that we should promote national cohesion and unity and a sense of loyalty amongst all the ethnic groups and indeed the geopolitical zone that makes the federation of Nigeria.
”Their Excellencies on their position that rotation is contrary to the constitution of Nigeria; the section they referred to in particular only talked about the mode of election, how a person can be elected as a president of Nigeria.
“But the constitution itself before that provision had envisaged that there must be that national spread and balance, in such a way that a particular ethnic group or tribe is not seen as dominating.
Adegboruwa said the constitutions of the All Progressives congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also support the principle of zoning and power rotation.
“It is not anything new, it’s been in the Nigeria political system. The PDP in article 7 of its own constitution specifically stated that it will adhere to the principle of zoning of elective offices between the various regions in Nigeria,” he said.
“And even in the APC constitution, article 7 also specifically says that the party will promote national unity.”
He, however, added that in a sane clime, the origin of a president of a nation should not be the bone of contention, saying what matters should be merit and drive for national cohesion.
Adegboruwa also said the controversy on the issue of zoning is the handiwork of the country’s political elites, who are after their own personal interests and not the interest of the nation.
“Ordinarily, nobody should be concerned about the origin of the president of a nation, if governance follow a particular principal of which there is proportional representation appointment are based on national cohesion and merit,” he said.
“I think as a nation we need to ensure that we achieve common and good governance, infrastructure, and democratic system of governance.”
Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet
Sudan’s military leader has declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved its transitional cabinet, which is seen as a huge blow to the country’s already fragile transition to democracy.
Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan made a televised announcement on Monday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets of the capital Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, after soldiers arrested several government officials.
Among those detained on Monday is Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.
The military also raided the television and radio headquarters and shut down the internet. The capital’s airport has been also closed, together with some of the city’s roads and bridges.
At least 12 people have been wounded so far in the protests that have been called by the pro-democracy coalition born out of the uprising which put an end to the 30-year long rule of Omar al-Bashir.
In his announcement, Burhan said that the military will continue the process towards democracy, but dissolved the sovereign council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s removal.
“We have started our path towards the state of freedom and peace but some political powers are still trying to maintain everything in their hands, without giving attention to political, economic and social threats,” he said.
Al-Burhan said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023.
But he made clear the military will remain in charge.
“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” al-Burhan said.
The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.
The information ministry called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup”.
Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.
Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention
The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has condemned the military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials.
He said this in a tweet Monday
In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan’s armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country’s transition to democracy.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan’s cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a security alert posted Monday, the US Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”
Guterres said the UN would “continue to stand” with the people of the country.
“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”
An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government.
The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs.
Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday.
“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added.
Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.
“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.
Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. “
“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities “to respect human rights” following military takeover
From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq
Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan “to respect human rights” following the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.
“We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown,” Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Amnesty International “calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever.”
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an “independent and fair representative government” would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
Those arrested by “joint military forces” include various civilian ministers of Sudan’s transitional government and members of Sudan’s sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry’s claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters, according to the information ministry.
Boko Haram attacks Yobe military base, three soldiers injured
Three soldiers were wounded on Saturday when Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base at Katarko village in the Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The reportedly insurgents drove into Katarko village in about 10 gun trucks and attacked the military formation.
They were said to have engaged the security operatives at the base in a gun duel.
The Cable reports that troops of the Nigerian Army, who repelled the attack, alongside airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force, were said to have killed many of the insurgents.
However, a precise number of fatalities had not been ascertained as of the time of filing this report. It was only gathered that three soldiers were injured in the attack.
“Two to three soldiers were injured and have been taken to hospital in Damaturu for treatment,” the source said, adding, “Many Boko Haram members are also feared dead. They were struck by foot soldiers and air support.”
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