NEG Commends the APC for Working towards a Southern Christian Presidential Candidate; Urges PDP to do Same

August 23, 2021
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The Nigeria Equity Group (NEG), an independent political movement, has commended the All Progressives Congress (APC) after reports emerged that the ruling party is considering fielding a southern Christian as its presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election.

The NEG which advocates for inclusion, fairness and balance in the Nigerian political space, stated that the APC was on the right track by working to ensure that a Southern Christian succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, after his two terms in office.

In a press statement released in Abuja, the NEG declared: “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. 

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‘’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.

“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.

 The Full Statement Below:

The Nigeria Equity Group (NEG) is a political movement whose mandate is to foster the principles of inclusion, fairness and balance in the Nigerian body polity.  We have campaigned extensively to nurture and promote these values in our politics and governance as a way of stimulating national healing, reconciliation and to build sense of unity and togetherness in the country.

Our group is inclusive and reflects the diverse composition of the Nigerian State. Lately, we have intensified our campaign to promote fairness and inclusion in the appointment of key political officers and the siting of important government projects in the country. We believe fairness and balance in this respect will go a long way in promoting national unity and douse the separatist fervor that has been heightened lately.

We note that Nigeria is not yet a perfect union, but we can all work towards making it a more perfect union, one founded on inclusion, unity in diversity, mutual respect and one destiny.

With the 2023 general elections around the corner, the peace, stability and future prospect of this country is at stake.  It is how well we navigate the issues around the elections that will determine whether we will continue to spiral into crises, or pull back and begin genuine effort towards reconciliation, peace and stability.

As of now, the tide doesn’t seem to bode well for our country. Resolute irredentists are bent on splitting the country along ethnic and religious lines, heating up the polity and aggravating all that ails the land.   We therefore need to watch and pay careful attention to these issues as they may make or mar the country.

In light of this, we strongly believe it is in the interest of the peace and stability of the country, for the next President to be a Southern Christian, after the eight-year rule of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim. It has been the tradition and precedent since 1999 with the return of democracy, for the office of President to rotate between the two major faiths of Christianity and Islam. This has brought some form of stability, balance and inclusiveness to Nigerians.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian from Ogun State, handed over to Umaru Musa Yar’adua, a Muslim from Katsina. After his untimely death, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian politician from Bayelsa State took over and after his exit in 2015, President Buhari from Katsina took over the reins of power. So, the two factors that have determined presidential power shift are geographical location and faith. It is particularly important to note that these factors were very important in the rejection of Jonathan and the election of President Buhari, especially given the sentiment that the North and Muslims were dealt an unfair deal when Yar’Adua died and Jonathan succeeded him.

It is only fair that after President Buhari’s two terms in office, this well-established precedent continues and the presidency moves to a southern Christian, in order to promote inclusion, fairness, balance and to reflect the multi religious and ethnic composition of Nigeria.

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.

However, the NEG is not pleased with the reports coming out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party. We have gathered that the Party, or a section of it, rather than work towards achieving a Southern Christian consensus in 2023, is actively trying to foist a northern Muslim as its presidential candidate.

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.

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 Southern Christians as their presidential candidates in 2023.

May God bless Nigeria

Signed:

Dr. Emeka Nwosu                                                  Alhaji Mubarak Muhammed Alabi

Convener, NEG                                                       Secretary, NEG

Email: nigeriaequitygroup@gmall.com

#END

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