A group of opinion leaders of ethnic minorities mostly from the North has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for the March 28 presidential election, saying it is his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which presents the mixed minority-majority presidential ticket that contemporary Nigeria should support.
The group, operating under the auspices of Nigeria Ethnic Minority Rights Movement for the Actualisation of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Ambition in 2015 (NEMRIMAG) with headquarters in Jos, said in a press statement yesterday that All Progressives Congress (APC) will present a majority-majority presidency should the presidential candidate and running mate get elected in the coming election.
“The early minority’s fears of domination by the majority ethnic groups would prove to be justified when the British left, and signs abound that this would be continued should we vote in a majoritymajority ticket which the All Progressives Congress has fielded,” said the statement which was signed jointly by President of the Movement, Gizo Jnr Kuulyidamsu and Secretary, Onya E. Samuel, who added, “We urge our people to rise against this domination and develop a fourth force (after the three major language groups of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo) that will counter this evil agenda against ethnic minorities.”
The Movement stated further, “Over time, national narrative and political discourse took on an increasingly regional format, undercutting the influence of the minority ethnic groups, something we must work against as we approach another sinister attempt as we approach 2015 elections lest we are left out of the equation again.”
The Movement took objection to lumping all North together and tending to ignore the precise interest of the small groups among the larger groups, stating, “The time has come for northern minorities to develop an understanding of their political power. There have been powerful and influential individuals from northern minority ethnic groups before, but under the satanic banner of ‘one North one destiny’ or in the name of protecting the so-called ‘northern interest’, we the ethnic minorities have been used by the Hausa Fulani to further their interests while we gain nothing.”
The Movement contended that Nigeria could remain a strong and united nation if all ethnic groups enjoy fairness, explaining, “Ethnic and religious conflicts in Nigeria, especially in the North, are indicative of the quest by minorities for independence, empowerment, and identity construction and the fear of the majority of losing economic power, political power and cultural dominance.”
Making its point further, the Movement asserted, “Nigeria does not have to split. Reducing the marginalisation in the North’s political and economic life will help to hold Nigeria together.”