Major supporters and kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan at the weekend threw their weight behind the presidential standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The supporters and kinsmen under the auspices of Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), at a briefing in Abuja said since Jonathan failed to join the 2023 presidential race despite their persistent prodding, the right thing to do was to support Tinubu, who they said, has the structures and capacity to win the elections, apart from being a southerner.
CNPDN was among the first Southern Coalition to openly call on former President Jonathan to run for office on the platform of the APC.
The Coalition had also involved prominent Southern leaders to prevail on Jonathan to throw his hat in the ring.
The ex-President, who promised to consult widely, declined participation in the race at the last minute before Tinubu won the presidential primary election of the APC.
The National secretary of the Coalition, Mr. Francis Okereke Wainwei, from Bayelsa State, told reporters at the briefing in Abuja that as patriotic citizens, they can’t sit back and not participate in the electoral process of the country.
Wainwei said: “As patriotic citizens under the auspices of the Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria, we took it up as a burning need for us to be actively involved in the process leading to the election of Nigeria’s next president, who shall be taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari next year.
“We consider it as very important and necessary because Nigeria needs a truly visionary, competent and detribalized leader to enthrone a more united, peaceful and prosperous nation.
“As patriotic citizens we feel obliged to take some proactive measures to ensure that the right president is elected, come 2023 by providing proper information and guidance that will enable the electorate elect the right candidate as president.
“We therefore, took it upon ourselves to do thorough investigations, opinion sampling and interviewing of major stakeholders from across the country to know the exact mood of the nation, to enable the electorate make the right choice for the 2023 presidential election.
“We also took into consideration the declarations of both the APC Northern Governors’ forum and that of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ forum ,with respect to which part of the country that should produce the next president in 2023.
“The both groups declared that power should shift to Southern Nigeria for the purpose of promoting equity, justice and fairness ,which they argued would strengthen the unity of the country.
“After a forensic analysis of the declarations and opinions of various groups and stakeholders across the country, we also came to the conclusion that for the peace, unity and progress of this country, a competent and experienced presidential candidate from Southern Nigeria be elected as president, come 2023.
“This is to strengthen the fragile unity we are experiencing at the moment, as a nation. It will appease some groups and individuals agitating against the political domination of others by any one part of the country.
“We went further to examine the capacity, competence, political experience and nation-wide acceptability of the presidential candidates from Southern Nigeria ,and we discovered that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress tops the other candidates.
“We hereby declare our total support for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC Presidential candidate, as our preferred candidate for the office of President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, come 2023.
“We are therefore, using this medium to also call on all patriotic Nigerians to support and vote massively for Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president in the 2023 presidential election ,as that is the best interest for Nigeria at the moment.
“Our choice of Bola Tinubu is strongly premised on his wealth of political experience, intellectual sagacity, a knack for identifying and recruiting competent people and the capacity to mobilize human and material resources for the accelerated and holistic development of the country.
“We believe strongly that the next president of this country should be someone who firmly believes in the philosophy of “building the people ,to build the nation “; he should be a people-oriented president.
“Tinubu fits perfectly for the kind of president Nigeria needs in the next dispensation He has the capacity and the wealth of political experience to re-enact the Lagos State magic in both the economic and political stability of this country. He is a national patriot and a detribalized leader that has the visionary mindset to build a prosperous, strong, peaceful and united Nigeria.”