From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria, on Monday, stormed the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to demand that the ruling party zones the presidential ticket for the 2023 election to the Southern part of the country.
Numbering hundreds, the protesters, bearing a banner and placards with various inscriptions had barricaded the Blantyre Street housing the APC secretariat, delaying and sometimes grounding vehicular movements.
The inscriptions on the placards which had almost the same appeal for the party to zone the presidential ticket to the South, read: “Please, respect Power rotation,” “All political parties must field a candidate from the south,” “It is the turn of the south, come 2023”, “2023 for equity, justice, and fairness.”
Others are; “One nation, one people, southern presidency now,” “One power rotation we stand,” “Save Nigeria democracy, support southern presidency,” “2023, power rotation to South is sacrosanct,” “It is the turn of the south come 2023,” “Southern presidency for national unity,” among others.
Presenting their stand, the president of the coalition, Bassey-Etuk Williams said that they did not limit their protest to only the APC but also all the registered political parties recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“We are apolitical as an organisation and our members spread across the length and breadth of the country. The coalition has continued to work towards promoting interventions intended to uplift and sustain democracy, good governance and national unity. The coalition does these through advocacy, sensitisation and lobbying.
“This letter is one of those efforts aimed at lobbying for a southern president in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election. The Coalition considered the current political situation in the country and the need for the nation’s unity not to be threatened because of 2023 elections, hence our resolve to get involved and save the country from a possible instability and crises.
“Considering the issue of zoning or rotation of the office of the office of the president of Nigeria, we wish to appeal to the leadership of the APC to consider and concede to the Southern part of the country the right to produce the party’s presidential candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“By this patriotic call, we do not intend to undermine your right as a political party or your party’s constitution. We respect the wishes and aspiration of your party and the citizens of the Nigeria, however, we are persuaded by the state of the nation as it concerns the unity and stability of out dear country.
“Our visit to your party secretariat today is to lend our support of the call for power shift to the Southern part of Nigeria; we hereby urge the great men and women of the APC to heed to this patriotic call. The APC, no doubt has a great role to play in ensuring that we remain one united and indivisible nation before and after 2023 elections.
“It is on the strength of the above that we march here today in our thousands to submit our petition on the imperatives of a presidential candidate of southern Nigeria extraction come 2023 on the platform of the APC. On power rotation we stand,” the group declared.