Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, the North Central geopolitical zone has commenced lobbying the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties for their tickets to be zoned to the region, introducing a new twist in the permutations.
LEADERSHIP reports that there have been clamours for the presidential ticket to be zone to Southern Nigeria, with the Southern governors, senators and other political leaders insisting the South must produce the president in 2023 going by the rotational arrangement.
In this wise also, the South East geopolitical zone has been laying claim to the top government seat, saying it is the only region yet to produce an executive president or head of state in the country since independence, as well as the only region in the South yet to occupy the top seat.
However, as the debate and lobbying intensifies, a group, the North Central Renaissance Movement (NCRM) has joined the fray of those asking for the presidency, insisting that their region has been marginalised in the scheme of things despite being the host of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. It said the region has been unable to occupy Aso Rock in the civilian regime.
Taking a position yesterday at a world press conference held at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, the North Central Renaissance Movement’s chairman, Dr Nghargbu K’tso, said for peace, equity and justice, all political parties in Nigeria should zone their tickets to the region.
The group, which disassociated itself from politicians from the North Central zone seeking to be political party chairmen, said what the region deserves is to produce a president in 2023.
“As the APC and the PDP get ready for their respective National Conventions, we are alarmed as political juggernauts and elder statesmen from the North Central start to lobby in earnest for the same positions in both parties.
“It seems as if our leaders have concluded that in spite of their many years in top leadership as governors, senators or ministers, they are by some unspoken code ineligible, unqualified or excluded from contesting to fly their parties’ flags as presidential candidates.
“This mindset, whether real or imagined, is one which our generation must stop before it infects and affects our future generations in the North Central. There is no better time than the current political dispensation to terminate it by proving that we too have the same aspirational liberties as any of our fellow citizens from any part of our country,” the group said while calling on the people of the region to unite and produce the Nigerian president in 2023.
“The NCRM has a simple demand to make in this regard – we implore our leaders to aim higher as we are not second class citizens in this country.
Having outlined above how the North Central’s historical exclusion from the top two offices in the nation outstrips any claims to political marginalisation by any other geopolitical zone, we insist that the demands of equity, fairness, justice and political inclusiveness can begin to be met by the lead opposition party, the PDP, and the governing party, the APC, picking their 2023 presidential candidate from our zone.
“Such an action will simultaneously satisfy the demands of political astuteness expected of any party which has her hands on the pulse of the nation.
“Every progressive-minded Nigerian and indeed all people of goodwill will not fail to see how in this 4th Republic the North West, North East, South South and South West have fared better than the North Central and the South East which are still at zero years in terms of access and ascension to the two top offices in the Presidency.
“It is thus our contention, as it should be that of any politically astute person, that in the run-up to 2023, all political parties must be acutely alive and responsive to the demands of social justice within the context of the realities shaping up now to determine the 2023 presidential race.”
The group further held that as permutations for 2023 start to coalesce, it is its belief that equity must be done to all sections of the country by correcting historical imbalances that engender pain and frustration among all, or a section of the populace.
“In line with our dataset above, we have demonstrated that there is hardly a more politically excluded, and disgruntled region in today’s Nigeria than the North Central.
“The exclusion revealed by this data, when weighed against the North Central’s contributions to the sociopolitical stability of the party, the North and indeed, the whole country, is enough to raise questions of her value as a ‘co-equal’ team player and ally in the North, and in the nation.
“Likewise, politically, we in the North Central have always stood shoulder to shoulder with our kindred in the North West and North East in all elections as staunchly as differences in political parties will allow, supporting their presidential candidates as ours,” the group said, adding that it had resolved that now is the time for the region to request the same support from its brothers in the North for a North Central presidency in 2023.
It added: “It is one practical way of reassuring us that we are not mere adjuncts but bona fide stakeholders in the One North project, fully entitled in our own rights to aspire and run for the two top leadership positions in this country.
“It is on this premise that we, the North Central Renaissance Movement (NCRM), demand in the interest of fairness, equity and justice that the office of president of Nigeria be ceded to the North Central.”
According to the group, the region’s claim to the exalted office is superior to others, as it is the most marginalised “in the history of civilian/democratic occupancy of the Office of President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since Independence.
“We, therefore, respectfully demand that the North Central, our geopolitical zone, receive accommodation and support from all the others in her quest to produce the next Nigerian president in 2023.”