Samuel Luka, Bauchi
A group known as South-North Conference Group (SNCG) has thrown its weight behind Chief Edwin Clark’s endorsement of Labour party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi ahead of the February presidential election.
Declaring the position of the group known in a press statement on Thursday, its President, Charles Ihemegbulem, said that power must rotate in the best interest of equity, justice and fairness.
According to him, his group is a collection of young people from every nook and cranny of Nigeria’s inevitable diversity, with adequate knowledge of civilizations of both the Southern and Northern parts of the country through deliberate and divine orchestration by way of birth, education, business, mission, marriage, national assignment, tourism and humanitarian services.
The group which appreciated the beauty of Nigeria’s diversity along the Southern and Northern regions with more than 250 different ethnic nationalities, said the nation is rife with several competing and parallel civilizations, orientation and interests stemming from the religious, cultural and traditional differences between the Northern and southern regions.
Charles Ihemegbulem said such differences leaves Nigeria with the dire need for a bridge of cohesion that the group is advocating for.
While observing that the country’s diversity is so wide, the group pointed out that without mutual respect, tolerance, sincerity and compromise, there can barely be cordial relationship and agreement between the citizens.
“This unique feature is akin to the dichotomy that subsists between Democrats and the Republicans in American politics which serves to balance, as an advantage to them, conservative and liberal ideals”, the group said.
“We must remind ourselves as a matter of truth, that we have not yet constructively built a society where institutions are stronger than individuals, ethnicity and religion”.
According to the group, “there should be a new Nigeria where systems works equally for all; where accountability is not a choice; where power, indeed, belongs to the people”.
Charles said it is on that ground that the SNCG members have decided not to sit on the sidelines and watch but to take a position in the political affairs of the country ahead of the upcoming general elections.
The group said it was necessary that the lodgment/distribution of power in Nigeria is rotated between the south and the north so as to give all concerned a sense of belonging.
While rejecting the presidential candidature of Alh. Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and that of the APC’s same faith ticket, the group commended political party that gave a southern candidate
an opportunity to emerge as their standard flag-bearers.
They described APC’s single faith presidential ticket as a deliberate and well calculated move in desperation to gain the sympathy of a particular religious demography and get their votes.
“We believe that the Muslim-muslim ticket is insensitive, ill-informed and against that which we stand for. Pushing a religious card down our throats and masquerading it in the
mantra of competence is deceit, insulting and a sign of lopsidedness in the near future”, Charles Ihemegbulem said.
The group reminded that the much of the imbalance and injustice that exist in Nigeria is due to the many decades of power retention in one region during the military era.
They pointed out that their decision to follow the path of Chief Edwin Clark and others who have stood firm to fulfill their conscience in upholding the truth at any cost followed wide consultations with mentors, advisers and members across six geopolitical zones of the country and the FCT.
The group which also endorsed the Presidential candidacy of Mr Peter Obi of LP, said their action is purely based on the fact that Obi is the only candidate passed their competency assessment.
Charles said in order to achieve their objectives, they have unveiled a Campaign Mobilization
Outfit called, ‘I-Vote Peter Obi 2023’ to be piloted by teeming members and structures of the group Nationwide.
The group which commended the National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a job well done, enjoined it to maintain an honest and unbiased stance in the forthcoming general elections.
They warned that any attempt to give Nigerians anything short of a free, fair and credible election will be met with commensurate resistance.
Mr Charles encouraged Nigerians who are yet to collect their PVCs to immediately do so in order to participate fully in this year’s election.