Adelani Adepegba and Amobi Davies
A group, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups, has urged political parties to zone their presidential ticket to the South in the spirit of fairness and equity.
The coalition said it had been mobilising young Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the coalition President, Bassey Williams, said the North has had its fair share of the nation’s leadership and should therefore yield the presidency to the South.
He said, “We have watched with keen interest various agitations across the zones of our federating units and we come up with the agenda of championing and clamouring for power shift to the South come 2023.
“There is no doubt that the North has had its fair share of the country’s leadership and now, it is time to zone the Presidency to the southern part of Nigeria, which in our opinion, deserves it.”
According to Williams, the political parties cannot exist without the nation and national interest should override the personal interest of those clamouring for the North to retain power in 2023.
“Let it be known that there won’t be either the All Progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party if there is no country called Nigeria. The national interest must override the personal interest of those pushing the parties to jettison the conventional rotation agenda on the Presidency,” he submitted.
The group noted that the nation was already overwhelmed by insecurity and other social and economic challenges, warning politicians not to compound her woes.
Meanwhile, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum comprising Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, described the groups and individuals opposed to the zoning of the presidency to the South in 2023 as enemies of Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Chief Chairman SMBLF, Dr E. K. Clark; Afenifere Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, and President, Middle Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus, on Tuesday.
SMBLF said the persons involved in the call against power rotation were only fanning the embers of dissent and disunity, adding that such could worsen the crisis in the country.
The group stated that the suggestion that the 2023 presidential contest should be left open to every region of the country was borne out of infantile political irrationality, noting that no region lacked credible and competent persons.