The Nigeria Equity Group (NEG) has said it is working on a Consensus deal with the rest of the country to ensure that a Christian from the south emerges as President, come 2023.
NEG appealed to all the political parties and party stakeholders in Nigeria to concede the presidency to a southern Christian in the interest of fairness and equity.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the convener, Dr Emeka Nwosu, said there should be a consensus on a Christian being President in 2023 in order to ensure balance and equity, and to not further aggravate our ethno-religious crises that are already getting out of hand.
He noted that Nigeria has faced a high and intolerable level of disunity as inter and intra-ethnic crises have in the last six years while the political environment is now governed by mutual suspicion, hatred and lack of empathy.
According to him, the failure of government at all levels, especially at the centre, to properly manage our diversity and ensure inclusiveness, fairness and federal character in key appointments, and selection for offices have heightened the mutual distrust and discontent in the polity.
“We do not want to belabor the issue but hope that 2023 will provide us another opportunity to reset, to get things right again. We are particularly concerned about the presidential election politics and its ability to restore confidence, stability and order in the polity. Or, God forbid, to do the opposite and set the tinderbox on fire. We believe God loves this country and will not allow that happen. But people of good conscience must rise up to the occasion. And that is why we are here today.
Nwosu stressed hat the position of the organization is that for the sake of equity and fairness the next President of Nigeria should be a Christian, adding that NEG believes that the rotation of the presidency between the two major religions – Christianity and Islam – since 1999, and between the two main regions of North and South, is ideal.
He insisted that aything short of the above template will not be acceptable and would mean a systematic and deliberate disenfranchisement of the Christian population that makes up about half of the Nigerian state, who need assurance that they are still major stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
“It would also mean that there will not be a Christian President in the foreseeable future and perhaps in the lifetime of every Nigerian adult living today,” Nwosu said.
“As a reminder, when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo completed his tenure, he handed over to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’ adua, a Northern Muslim. After the untimely and unfortunate death of Yar’adua, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian took over as President. After his tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari took over and has been on the presidential saddle for more than five years. We believe that it is essential that after the tenure of President Buhari, the next president should be a Southern Christian, in order for us to maintain this balance and not to further aggravate the ethno-religious issues that have bedeviled our country lately. We need to heal and not rupture further”.
He stated that forming a consensus on critical national issue is essential for “growth, peace and stability of our union and it would also not be strange as we have reached such agreements in the past; the most recent being in 1999 when the presidency was conceded to the Southwest to assuage the unjust annulment of the June 12, 1993 election which Chief MKO Abiola was set to win.”
Nwosu said that the group will mobilize the patriotic Nigerians against any political party that goes against this template and does not lead its presidential ticket with a Christian candidate.
He said: “Our organization in partnership with other similar groups will mobilize all fair-minded Nigerians in every nook and cranny of this country, from the marshy plains of the Delta to the grasslands of the North, to vote against such a political party.”