2023: Southern, Middle Belt leaders vow to reject any party with northern presidential candidate

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has vowed to withhold support from any political party that fields a northerner as its presidential candidate in 2023.

SMBLF made this known in a communique issued after a meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

Representatives of the four regional sociocultural groups – Afenifere (South West), Ohanaeze Ndigbo (South-East), Pan Niger Delta Forum (South-South) and the Middle Belt Forum (Middle Belt) – attended the meeting.

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Some of the representatives were Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Prof George Obiozor (Ohanaeze) Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum) and Chief Edwin Clark (PANDEF).

The communique read, “Arising therefrom, the meeting resolved as follows:

“That the extant Constitution and Structure of Nigeria are grossly flawed and lopsided, accordingly, Forum restates its demand for the fundamental restructuring of the country by enacting a new Constitution that would enthrone equity, fairness and justice.It must be One Nation, One System;

“Cites that the northern part of the country would have fully enjoyed the Office of the Presidency of the country for the full statutory period of 8 years by 2023, hence, the presidency should rotate to the South;

“Therefore, unequivocally, and in full resolve, call on all political parties in the country to zone their presidential tickets to the south;

“Advices that any political party that does not zone its presidential ticket to the South should not expect support from the four regions;

“Notes that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power.”

Charging the government to protect the lives and property of Nigerians, the forum’s leaders decried the wanton killing of Nigerians by terrorists and other criminals, especially in the North West geopolitical zone.

The forum urged the National Assembly and governors to commit themselves to restructuring and reaffirm their commitment to Nigeria’s unity “situated on the tenets of equity, fairness, justice, and the principle of federalism”.

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