Senator Kashim Shettima has called on Northerners to ensure frontline presidential aspirant Bola Tinubu succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in office.

Mr Shettima, a former Borno governor and lawmaker representing Borno Central at the Senate made the call in an interview with Daily Trust Newspapers.

The lawmaker argued that Mr Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, was instrumental to the emergence of Mr Buhari in 2015 as president after several previous attempts by the latter became fruitless.

He said by rolling out his political mercenaries to ensure the ousting of former president Goodluck Jonathan is reason enough for the North to ensure the former Lagos governor succeeds outgoing President Buhari.

“Buhari is immensely popular in the North. He has a cult-like followership of nearly 15 million people,” Shettima acknowledged. “But that never took him to the presidency until we had a handshake across the Niger with the west.

“Wrongly, he was assumed to be a northern’ hegemonist’, a provincial politician, even a religious bigot by some of our compatriots in the southern part of the country. It was the south-west political machine that repackaged and resold the Buhari brand to Nigerians in 2015.

“Without the block support of the South-West, it would have been difficult for President Buhari to emerge as the candidate of the APC. Tinubu worked for Buhari in 2015 and in 2019.

“This is why some of us find it utterly disgusting when some of the folks who vigorously worked against Buhari’s ambition in 2014 have done some political somersaults and are now members of what I called Buharist Church of Latter Day Saints, hectoring down on us and liberally dropping the president’s name,” he added.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) which Mr Buhari ran on its platform to emerge President was formed in 2014 by four opposition parties with the sole aim of snatching power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which usually zoned its presidential ticket between the Northern and Southern parts of the country.

As the 2023 general election approaches, individuals and groups in the North argue that zoning should be discarded for competency, an argument Southern Governors Forum (SGF) rejected, insisting power must return to the South.

Southern politicians often claim an unwritten agreement exist in the APC for power shift between North and South, this the Borno lawmaker said has no base.

“In my view, Asiwaju is sophisticated enough to understand that no one can rely on a futuristic political pact, four or eight years ahead,” the senator said.

“Even a week can be a long time in politics. No one can predict what could happen between now and 2023, let alone predict it as in 2015. In politics you can only guarantee something that is within your immediate reach.”