SUPPORTERS of former President Goodluck Jonathan have commenced grassroots mobilisation in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones for the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The group, under the aegis of Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria, had earlier endorsed Tinubu in November.
In a statement issued after the grassroots campaign commencement in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the national secretary of the coalition, Francis Wainwei, disclosed that they were against the idea of having another northerner to replace the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) after eight years.
Wainwei, whose group made a cash donation of N1 million to support Tinubu’s campaign in the two geopolitical zones, vowed to do everything to ensure the next president emerged from the South.
The CNPDN was among the few coalitions that openly pushed for Jonathan to contest for the presidential ticket on the platform of the APC earlier this year.
Jonathan, who promised to consult widely in the build-up, reneged at the last minute, paving the way for Tinubu to clinch the party ticket.
But Wainwei, an indigene of Bayelsa State, told newsmen on Monday that their supporters had unanimously resolved to support Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election.
According to him, the group’s primary reason for throwing their weight behind a southern presidential candidate was to promote national unity, equity, fairness and justice.
he statement read in parts: “Our position that the next president of this country should come from the South is driven by same vision and principles. We believe strongly that such 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 surprised by the betrayal of the same cause by some of the southern governors, especially the South-South governors, except Nyesom Wike, who had earlier declared for a southern President, to abandon same and started pursuing their personal interests instead of the collective interest of the region.
“We therefore call on the South-South governors who have betrayed their people by supporting another northern candidate to take over from Buhari after eight years of a president from the North, to resign immediately.
“Tinubu is the easiest means to electing a President from southern extraction in 2023. He has nationwide acceptance and has the requisite political experience to navigate Nigeria to greatness as president of Nigeria.”