The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has warned political parties especially the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that permutations to foist northern presidential candidates on the country would be a grave misadventure with grim consequences.
The SMBLF said it insisted on zoning and rotation of the Presidency as fundamental to the existence of Nigeria, while advising party delegates to reject presidential aspirants or candidates from the north, and only vote for those from the south in the coming primaries.
The SMBLF commended four northern governors who had shown support for power rotation and southern presidency for 2023, asking other northern governors and leaders to join in the actualisation.
This was contained in a statement by the group in Lagos State, which was signed by Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader, Afenifere, Dr Pogu Bitrus, President-General, Middle Belt Forum, Prof George Obiozor, President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, National Chairman, PANDEF.
The SMBLF urged all politicians and professionals from the South not to accept, on any account, 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.
It 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 had, since Independence, been premised.
The leaders of the socio-political organisations condemn, in the strongest terms, obvious schemes by the two main political parties, the PDP and APC, ahead of their presidential primaries, to jettison the time-honoured principle of rotation, which had traditionally served as the glue holding the Federal Republic of Nigeria together.
The forum said, “SMBLF commends a number of northern governors who have demonstrated great patriotism by their public support for the rotation of the presidency to the South; to name a few, Malam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State 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 Nigeria.
Speaking on insecurity, the forum said, “Sadly, the Federal Government and its security agencies are not doing enough to arrest a situation, whereby people can no longer travel safely either by road, rail or even by air to Kaduna State in particular.
“It is not only frightening but unimaginable that despite the heavy presence of military commands and installations in the state, there could be such security challenges.”
SMBF cited the bombing of the Kaduna-Abuja bound train over 60 days ago as well as the brazen attack on motorists on the Abuja-Kaduna Road about two days ago.
The Forum also condemned the killing of Miss Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a student of the College of Education, Sokoto, by her Muslim schoolmates and the wild spread of violence that engulfed the state, following the arrest of two of her killers.