A prominent support group that worked for former President Goodluck Jonathan, Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), has begun grassroots mobilisation in the Southeast and the Southsouth for the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Last month, the group had endorsed Asiwaju Tinubu as their preferred candidate for the February 25, 2023 presidential poll.
The coalition called for the immediate resignation of all Southsouth governors, especially Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for breaching the agreement of the Southern Governors’ Forum for power shift from the North to the South in 2023.
The pro-Jonathan group kicked off their campaign in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, insisting that the next President must come from the South.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the coalition’s National Secretary Francis Okereke Wainwei, who hails from Bayelsa State, said CNPDN unanimously resolved to support and vote for Asiwaju Tinubu in the 2023 general election.
He said the decision of the group for power shift was in alignment with the position of the Northern Governors’ Forum of the APC and the Southern Governors’ Forum, which had agreed that the South should produce the next President.
Wainwei said the coalition’s position was for the promotion of national unity, equity, fairness and justice as its basis for supporting a Southern Presidency in 2023.
“Our position that the next President of this country should come from the South is driven by the same vision and principle that will strengthen the unity and peace of the nation. It will give a better sense of belonging to the people of Southern Nigeria and foster a more viable peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
“We were, therefore, surprised by the betrayal of the same cause by some of the Southern governors, especially the Southsouth governors, except (Rivers State Governor) Nyesom Wike, who had earlier declared for a Southern President, to abandon same and started pursuing their interests instead of the collective interest of the region.
“We are, therefore, calling on the Southsouth governors who have betrayed their people by supporting another northern candidate to take over from President Buhari after eight years… to resign immediately.
“This is because the people of the Southsouth can no longer trust them with their common heritage as they have placed their interests above the collective interest of their people.
“Our call on them to resign is also premised on the fact that they recently received huge sums of money via the 13 per cent Derivation Fund and squandered same in pursuit of their interests at the expense of their people.
“We are also calling on the Southsouth States’ Houses of Assembly to impeach the said governors, if they fail to resign as requested.
“We shall mobilise our members across the Southsouth states to force the said governors to resign or get impeached. We can’t allow such selfish governors to continue to govern us anymore. We must all place the collective interest of our people above our interests for our region to experience holistic and accelerated development.”