2023 presidency: South using VAT to force North to concede – Jaji

Former House of Representatives member, Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji has said that the controversies surrounding the collection Value Added Tax (VAT) is being used to compel the north to cede the presidency to the south in 2023.

Jaji who chaired the House committee on Internal Security in the 8th Assembly told those pushing for power shift to the South to explore the option of canvassing for the support of the electorates in the north to achieve their objective.

Speaking  with newsmen Wednesday in Abuja, the Zamfara born chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) said the North stands to gain bountifully in the long run if states are allowed to reap from the VAT generated in their respective domain.

Jaji who expressed reservations over the zoning of elective positions in the country, however, admitted that rotational presidency would enhance national unity and cohesion in the country.

According to him: “Even the issue of VAT or fiscal federalism that people are talking about, all these is because of 2023. They feel the only way they can get the presidency or mandate is through intimidation. It will not work. 

“You can only win somebody’s heart by being polite and friendly. But so long as you continue to pursue somebody with a sort of intimidation with what you have, trying to use your own force, nobody will take it. 

“We are one but why trying to be different? There are so many people from the north who want to be president. And we have those who want somebody from the south to be the president which is okay. But some have an interest. Some have sentiment. 

“My take is that whosoever wants to be the president, let the person come and showcase to all Nigerians where he is from the north or south how he wants to be a president. Politics is a game of numbers. There is no way you can take away that word from politics. It must be the number. 

“Look at how the previous people, Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abiola, and others. Look at the voters Abiola got from the north that he didn’t get from the south. Why because people from the north believe in him at that time. No matter how bad Obasanjo is, or good is he, the people in the north believe in him. 

“Because even if he has his own particular problem or agenda, or sentiment he bends down and he got what he wants. My brothers the issues are all centered around 2023. After 2023, there will be Nigeria. There will be politics again. There is 2027 and beyond. We have to think of something that can work beyond 2023.

“When a group of people sat down and talk about zoning, it is about sentiment. In politics, you don’t zone everything. But because we are not yet mature and advanced, that is why the issue of zoning is coming up.

“I think the issue of zoning always comes up because we want to remain as one. Because the political diversity we have today was because of the regional politics we have been playing all the time since 1999 till date.”

When asked whether APC should jettison zoning, the party chieftain said: “Of course! That is the right thing honestly.

“Whoever wants to contest let him contest. Because if you take Zamfara for example, the reason the governor said he wants to zone the ticket to central is that he has sentiments. Anybody who says he wants to zone presidency is because of sentiments and not interest of the followers. Because interest is allowed in politics and sentiment is always a cancer in our politics. 

“The agitations for power shift are premised on the fact that there was an agreement in 2015 prior to the election that in 2023, power will return to the south. Are you aware of this agreement?”