SIR: The northern All Progressives Congress (APC) governors with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari played an heroic role in the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the flag bearer of the APC in the recently concluded presidential primary election, by insisting that for equity, justice and fairness, it is the turn of the south to produce the next president come 2023. The challenge in the next eight months is how to unite the country around this noble objective of a southern presidency after eight years of Buhari, a northerner.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic country with the Hausa/Fulanis, Tivs, Idomas, the Yorubas, Igbos, Ijaws, Calabars, Edos, Urhobos, Itsekiris, Isokos, etc. It is also a multi-religious country, even as the various tribes also intermingle.
A situation where power remains in the north after eight years, contrary to the convention in our nascent democracy, will not augur well for the country and might lead to its disintegration considering the secessionist agitations presently especially in the south east/ west due to alleged marginalisation irrespective of this convention which should ensure that both the north and south had a fair chance of producing the president. And we have had northern Muslims as president and southern Christians as presidents so far.
Obasanjo and Jonathan, two southern candidates defeated northern opponent in past elections and there is no reason why that can’t happen again. It is okay to have Tinubu that has been nominated as the flag bearer of the APC, from the south west. Thank God the Islamic preachers’ council and prominent northerners including northern APC governors back southern presidency as it is the right thing for the country at this point in time.
However, our Christian leaders CAN/PFN are yet to come on board due to their desire to have a Muslim / Christian ticket which may not be the case. I am a Christian and an advocate of a southern Christian president initially such that I wrote a piece published in The Guardian of February 19, 2021 on it. And I supported the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the primaries. But now the two major parties, the APC and PDP, have picked Muslims as their flag bearers and those who understand politics, know that our next president is going to come from either of the two major parties. If we Christians cannot get the VP slot, I suggest the leadership of the church rather negotiates for other powerful positions such as the Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, etc.
We must realise that promoting the unity and internal cohesion of the country supersedes having a Christian VP at this point in time and know that working against the victory of Tinubu would be indirectly working for Atiku of the PDP and retaining power in the north with adverse consequences.
Moreover, in Tinubu whose wife is a Christian, we have a natural Muslim/ Christian ticket as she could play the role of Esther Christians are familiar with.
• Bernard Ogboka, an APC chieftain, wrote from Warri.