ew days to the national conventions of the political parties, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has cautioned delegates of all political parties, and true lovers of democracy, to reject presidential aspirants from the North, and only vote for those from the South during the party primaries.
The group of politicians and professionals from the South declared that on no condition should southern politicians accept the position of Vice President, as that would amount to a shameful committal of present and future generations of Southern Nigeria to senseless political vassalage.
These were part of the resolutions which the forum reached after its crucial meeting that deliberated extensively on the State of the Nation, particularly the worsening insecurity and the political intrigues heralding the 2023 General Elections.
In a communique released at the end of the meeting, the SMBLF reiterated its stance on the principle of zoning and power rotation between the North and the South, as the basis on which the Nigerian Federation has been premised since Independence in 1960. The group stated unequivocally, that the zoning and rotation of the Presidency of Nigeria are fundamental to the future existence of the country.
Accordingly, the forum condemned, in strongest terms, the apparent plots by the two main political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of their presidential primaries, to jettison the time-honoured principle of rotation, which has traditionally served as the glue holding together the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The group warned that the reported permutations by the main political parties to foist northern presidential candidates on the nation would be a grave misadventure, with grim consequences on national concord and harmony.
It further insisted that, in observance of the principles of justice, equity, fairness and political inclusiveness, the South, and particularly, the South East Zone, being the third leg on which Nigeria’s political trajectory had revolved, should produce the next President of the country in 2023.
According to the group, power rotation to the South East region, would bring the Igbo quest for full reintegration and reconciliation, since the end of the Civil War in 1970, to full realisation.
The SMBLF commended a number of northern governors who have demonstrated great patriotism by their public support for the rotation of the presidency to the South and urged
other well-meaning northern leaders, who believe in the oneness of Nigeria, to support this cause, because therein lies the unity and progress of the country.
On the worsening state of insecurity and rampaging violence across the country, the Forum warned that Nigeria was descending into a state of total disorder and lawlessness, with attacks on innocent people resulting in kidnapping, loss of lives and destruction of properties in different parts of the country.
The group accused the Federal Government and its Security Agencies are not doing enough to arrest the situation, whereby people can no longer travel safely either by road, rail or even by air to Kaduna and some other major cities.
It condemned the frightening but unimaginable level of security challenges in Kaduna State despite the heavy presence of military commands and installations in the State. The SMBLF also condemned the recent bombing of the Kaduna-Abuja bound train as well as the brazen attack on motorists on the Abuja-Kaduna Road about two days ago, adding that on both occasions, innocent lives were lost while several people were wounded with many abducted by the terrorists.
The communique was signed by the leaders of the forum namely its Chairman, Chief Edwin Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader of Afenifere (South West); Professor George Obiozor, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide (South East); His Excellency, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (Rtd.), Leader and Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President, Middle Belt Forum (Middle Belt); as well as Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE, National Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF (South-South).