Nigeria Equity Group (NEG), has urged the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to choose Southern Christians as their presidential candidates in the 2023 election.
NEG, an independent political movement advocating for inclusion ahead of 2023, said for fairness and balance in the Nigerian political space, both parties should ensure that a Southern Christian succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, after his two terms in office.
The body while claiming that APC is already considering the southern christian option, kicked against plot by some PDP leaders to nominate a northern Muslim as its president candidate in 2023.
In a statement jointly signed by its convener, Dr. Emeka Nwosu and secretary, Alhaji Mubarak Muhammed Alabi, said “We hope – and pray- that for the sake of national unity, peace and stability, the two major political parties rise above pedestrian and narrow partisanship and do what is right by adopting or electing competent Southern Christians as their presidential candidates in 2023,’’ the body stated.
It said, “We are happy with the reports coming from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling Party. We are aware that the Party is now actively working towards having a Southern Christian as its presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election. We commend the Party for toeing this line of national interest and inclusion, and for disappointing critics who, during its early days as a political Party, sneered at it for being a ‘Janjaweed party,’ a snide reference to the faith of some of its leaders.
‘’When the APC eventually achieves this goal, it would be demonstrating to all that it is a true national Party, one that fully understands the heterogeneous complexities of the Nigerian state. And it will be recompensing its southern Christian political leaders and members, who in 2015, backed President Buhari, a Muslim over Jonathan the Southern Christian candidate in that election.’’
The body, however, said it was not happy with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over speculated plot by some leaders of the Party to nominate a northern Muslim as its president candidate in 2023.
According to the NEG: ‘’We are particularly disappointed in the PDP because it is the greatest beneficiary of Southern votes and solidarity over the years. Since 2003, the PDP has received more votes form the South than any other political party and the zone has been its solid base. In the last election, the only two regions where the PDP won handily were in the South – the South-East and South-South.
‘’It is unconscionable that the Party, or a section of it, is considering nominating a northern Muslim Presidential candidate, after the tenure of another Muslim, without regard to the ethnic and religious mix of the country.
‘’We wish to warn the PDP that if it goes ahead to nominate a northern Muslim as its presidential candidate in 2023, we would mobilize southern Christians against it. We will make sure that it loses its base, and that may be the beginning of the end of the Party.’’
The body argued that it is how well Nigerians manage the issues surrounding the next general elections that will determine the fate of the country, ‘’whether we will continue to spiral into crises, or pull back and begin genuine effort towards reconciliation, peace and stability,’’ it said.