Abuja—Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum have again warned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that fielding northerners as presidential candidates would have “grim consequences on national concord and harmony.”
Punch newspaper reports that they also warned politicians from the South gunning for the Presidency to reject the position of Vice President as that would amount to “a shameful committal of present and future generations of southern Nigeria to senseless political vassal age.”
This was made known in a communiqué jointly signed by Chief Edwin Clark; Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; President-General, Middle Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus; President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor; and the National Chairman, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Senator Emmanuel Essien, obtained by Saturday PUNCH at the end of the meeting of the forum, which was held in Abuja, on Thursday.
“The SMBLF firmly reiterates 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, since Independence, been premised. We state, unequivocally, that the zoning and rotation of the presidency of Nigeria are fundamental to the future existence of the country.
“Accordingly, we condemn, in 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 has traditionally served as the glue holding the Federal Republic of Nigeria together.
“We warn 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.
“We, therefore, call on all delegates of all political parties, and true lovers of democracy, as a sacred obligation, to reject presidential aspirants, or candidates, from the North, and only vote for those from the South in the party primaries.
“We also call on 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,” part of the communiqué reads.
They further insisted that, in observance of the principles of justice, equity, fairness and political inclusiveness, the south, and particularly, the South-East zone should produce the next president of the country in 2023.
“We, therefore, insist that this would bring the Igbo quest for full reintegration and reconciliation, since the end of the Civil War in 1970, to full realization,” it added.