By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Nigeria Equity Group, a political interest organisation, has said it is working on a consensus deal that will ensure that a Christian from the south emerges as the next president of the country.
According to the group, fairness and equity demands that the rest of the country concedes the 2023 presidency to a qualified Christian from the south.
While drawing analysis to support their stance, NEG said that when former President Olusegun Obasanjo completed his tenure, he handed over to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a Northern Muslim.
It said that after the untimely and unfortunate death of Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian took over as President who later handed power over to another Muslim, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Convener of NEG, Emeka Nwosu, said the country had suffered from heightened mutual distrust and discontent in the polity these past years.
He said: “The position of our organization is that for the sake of equity and fairness, the next president of our country should be a Christian. We believe that the template that the country has adopted since 1999 with the return of democratic rule in which the position of president rotates between the two major faiths of Christianity and Islam, and between the two main regions of North and South is ideal”.
Nwosu who addressed journalists along with the Secretary of the group, Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed said their intention was to lobby various interest groups and individuals who have started positioning for the next election circle to see the need to embrace the cause of inclusiveness and fairness as a means of restoring peace, stability and unity in the country.
“If we do not carefully and wisely manage the journey towards 2023, the visible cracks of our country would get worse, and Nigeria may not survive the next round of crises that would emerge as a result.
“We have observed that in the last six years, Nigeria has faced a high and intolerable level of disunity as inter and intra-ethnic crises have increased ten-fold,” he said.
He said NEG was working on acalculation that there’s a near-zero chance of a Christian emerging as President when power again shifts to the North as the northern population is overwhelmingly Islamic.
“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 said.
Nwosu added that the group will mobilize patriotic Nigerians against any political party that goes against this template and does not lead its presidential ticket with a Christian candidate.
He said the organization in partnership with other similar groups “will mobilize all fair-minded Nigerians in every nook and cranny of this country, to vote against such a political party”.