Babachir Lawal, Ex-SGF
Babachir Lawal, Ex-SGF

Ex-SGF Lawal: Other North geo-political zones, not only South, can vie for 2023 presidency

NEWS DIGEST – The immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, has strongly argued that the constitution did not bar anybody from the North Central and Northeast from contesting the 2023 presidency, just as other politicians from the South-South, Southeast and Southwest, are also free to vie for the highest political office in the land, during next general elections.

Lawal made the assertion in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, adding that “for obvious reasons, I am a democrat and I believe every part of Nigeria has qualified candidates to contest for the office of Mr. President. If we say the Northwest has produced a president, the Southwest had produced one, then I don’t see why the North Central cannot produce or the Northeast cannot produce just as South-South, Southeast, Southwest and even Northwest can still produce. The constitution doesn’t say it is prohibited. And as I said, I believe every zone, and every state, has capable people that can run this country effectively.”

On the marginalization claim by Southeast concerning the sharing of National Assembly (NASS) leadership positions, the Adamawa State’s chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the region marginalized itself by voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which eventually lost, instead of aligning with other regions to vote en masse for APC.

His words: “The realities of politics is that if you vote for me, you will get what you are looking for. But that has not been the case with the Southeast. They go their own way, which they are fond of doing, and then they come round and say marginalization in an election in which they marginalized themselves. They marginalized themselves in this election. They went for PDP which lost. Nobody forced them to vote for PDP. Politics is a game of risk. And if you lose, then you have to sit down and watch through the window when people are chopping on the dining table. So, they shouldn’t blame anybody on marginalization.”

Commenting on his State’s politics, Babachir Lawal, attributed the APC’s defeat in the elections held in Adamawa, to the high-handedness, anti-party activities and impunity of Governor Muhammad Jubrila Bindow.

He confessed that though the party went into the election as a divided party, some eminent APC bigwigs in the State like General Buba Marwa, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, and serving SGF, Boss Mustapha, had severally protested the way and manner the party was being run by the governor.

He disclosed that Governor Bindow, right from the onset, pitched his tent with the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is an indigene of the State.

Lawal, accused Bindow of supporting and even funded PDP’s campaign in the State, prior to the recent polls.

He said the governor strongly believed Atiku single-handedly bankrolled his gubernatorial ambition in 2015.

The erstwhile SGF added: “Part of what led to this outcome was a historical position that the government of Bindow had on several occasions publicly declared that their government was a government of Atiku. It is on record that in so many for a, his supporters, his henchmen had said it in his presence and he didn’t take any step to deny it. I remember at one of their road launching somewhere in Adamawa State, the then-led Chief of Staff, made a long speech in which he insisted that Adamawa State Government was for Atiku. Now, we did also point out the fact that the governor himself had claimed that it was Atiku’s money that facilitated his victory at the polls. He had said that on several occasions. We have also had cause to protest that in Bindow’s government, there were about seven serving commissioners who were very close to Atiku, including his own daughter.”

He however, said the party is re-strategizing, rebuilding and rebranding itself having learnt it lessons, in a bid to reclaim its mandate in 2023.