The bid over which region will produce Nigeria’s next President took another turn yesterday, as over 1,000 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) shut down the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), requesting both parties to pick their presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections from the southern part of the country.
The protesters, under the umbrella of the Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria (CCSG), displayed banners and chanted solidarity songs in Abuja, insisting that heeding the call would save the nation from possible instability of the country’s democracy.
Some of the inscriptions read, “Please respect power rotation, power rotation is not negotiable,” “We support a united Nigeria, one nation great people,” “Southern presidency now, the southern presidency for national unity.”
President of CCSG, Bassey Etuk Williams, who spoke on behalf of the coalition, restated that the appeal was also to engender fairness and uphold the unity of the country.
According to Williams, the CSOs do not intend to undermine the right of political parties or party’s constitution by making the patriotic call, maintaining that they deem it a worthy sacrifice and a patriotic love for the country if political parties could jettison all other interests and ambition for the peace, unity and stability of the nation’s democracy.
His words, “We are convinced that power should naturally rotate between the North and South. We also believe that it is by an avowed commitment to this arrangement that we can stop the current ethno-religious division being experienced in the country.
“Our visit today (yesterday) is to lend our voice in support of the call for power shift to the southern part of Nigeria. We hereby urge the great men and women of the PDP and APC to heed to this patriotic call.
“By this patriotic call, we do not intend to undermine your right as a political party or your party’s constitution.”
A correspondence delivered to both parties reads in part, “This letter is one of those efforts aimed at lobbying for a southern president in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
“This, in our opinion, will guarantee sustainable peace, national unity and strengthen our democracy.”