A socio-political pressure group, the National Political Equity Movement (N-PEM) has urged other political zones in the country to support the bid of the South-East region to produce Nigeria’s next President in 2023.
The group therefore asked all the political parties in the country to zone the position of their presidential candidate to the South-East region.
Speaking at a press briefing at the weekend in Abuja, the Convener of N-PEM, Amb. Sunday Okereke explained that since Nigeria returned to democratic rule, power rotation at the presidency has conventionally rotated between Northern and Southern Nigeria.
He explained that so far, from the South, only the South West and the South South have produced Presidents of the country with the South East the only Southern region yet to produce one.
With the Presidency expected to return to the South in 2023 after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Okereke said it is only fair that the South East produces the next president.
He noted that allowing the South East to produce the next President will engender the feeling of fairness and equity, and ensure national cohesion.
According to him, “As a movement, we make this argument for the South East Equity Presidency-2023 in total recognition of established democratic norms and the fact that political power is not given. Hence, we advocate that based on Nigeria’s unique diversity, historical political structure, power arrangement and in fulfillment of the Constitutional declaration equity and social justice, including the urgent need for national integration, national progress/development, national healing, national loyalty, national fairness, national political justice, and national belongingness that through negotiations, lobbying, consensus, solidarity, peaceful persuasion, superior civil argument and brotherliness other zones should support the South East for presidency of Nigeria after 24 years of return to democracy.
“The movement uses this opportunity to call on Mr. President, H. E. Muhammadu Buhari, political party leaderships and all men of conscience irrespective of party affiliation, religion or creed to kick the process of building a national consensus that will produce a Nigerian President from the South East come 2023”, he added.
Okereke who was supported at the briefing by Ibi Akatiki, Chidi Chidebe, Laz Udeze and Alabi Abiodun said N-PEM intends to build a national mass movement to support power shift to the South East.
“We intend to raise national consciousness by bringing on-board 10 million Nigerians from the national to the ward levels to support this noble idea and build a Nigeria that we can all be proud of,” he stated.
Ms Ibi Akatiki, another member of the organisation, said youth participation in governance is crucial to national development and must be encouraged in the political space.
She said as Nigeria’s democracy progressed, it was important to ensure equity, unity, fairness and other factors that would help Nigeria consolidate the gains of democracy.