Hold Onto Power At Nigeria’s Peril, SMBLF Warns Northern Oligarchy

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has, again, warned the northern oligarchy against perpetuating itself in power after the exit of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

To avert the tragedy, the forum, therefore, urged delegates to cast their votes for only credible aspirants from the southern part of the country.

Anything less, the group warned, could jeopardize the unity and peace of Nigeria as well as plunge it into the parlous precipice.

“As the leading opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) holds its Primary elections to select its Presidential flag bearer this weekend, in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has again called on party delegates to shun primordial considerations in their choice of candidate.

“They MUST only vote in the national interest to preserve the oneness of Nigeria.

“SMBLF further warns that it would be TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for the major political parties in the country to choose candidates from the North as Flag bearers for the 2023 presidency.

“This is given the fact that the northern part of the country would have fully enjoyed the Presidency of the country for the full statutory period of eight years by 2023, under President Muhammadu Buhari, and therefore, asserts that the next President of Nigeria should come from the South, particularly the South East.

“This country belongs to all of us and we all have equal stakes. Any attempt by any group of persons to hold on to political power in perpetuity to the exclusion of the rest of Nigeria will be disastrous.

“It bears reminding the political class that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power, accordingly, we restate our call on all lovers of peace and equity in Nigeria, particularly our people of Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt region, to REJECT any political party that fails to zone its presidential ticket to the South,” the forum admonished.

In a statement signed by Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, of PANDEF, Chief Ayo Adebanjo of Afenifere, Dr. Pogu Bitrus

President-General of Middle Belt Forum and Ambassador (Prof.) George Obiozor of Ohaneze Ndigbo, SMBLF urged southerners to reject Vice President Yemi Osinbajo outright.

“SMBLF, likewise, sternly cautions all persons from Southern Nigeria including politicians, public servants, professionals, and academics, NOT TO ACCEPT, on any justification, the position of Vice President.

“This will not only be a dishonourable legacy for them and generations after them, but tantamount to slavishly mortgaging the political future of the people of Southern Nigeria!”

The forum, in the statement issued on Saturday ahead of the presidential primaries of the two major political parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), urged “true patriots, statesmen and women, to intervene in the political process to save the country from the reckless endangerment of its future corporate existence by the avoidable intrigues and manoeuvres of some self-seeking politicians.”

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