By Dapo Akinrefon
THE South and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, SMBLF, yesterday, backed the position of the Southern Governors’ Forum, SGF, that power must shift to the South in 2023, dismissing the insinuation that there is an alleged hatred for the North.
SMBLF, in a statement by Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, dismissed the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, for opposing power rotation to the South.
Afenifere said: “Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s declaration reflected the desire of the majority of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, particularly those in the four geopolitical zones — Middle Belt, South West, South East and the South-South — as represented by their respective organisations.”
The organisations were Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, who collectively formed the South and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, SMBLF.
“Governor Akeredolu is very much in line with the position of the SMBLF as further reiterated at its recent meeting in Abuja where all political parties in the country were urged to field candidates of southern extraction for the purpose of the 2023 presidential election.
“Governor Akeredolu spoke our minds when he said that ‘only a party that is determined to lose will field a northern candidate” the release stated adding that this position was very much in line with the resolution of the SMBLF as reiterated at its last meeting held in the house of its national leader, Pa Edwin Clark.
“We advise both the ACF and CNG to purge themselves of the notion that some people, particularly the South, hate the North.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. The path we are treading is the one that will foster unity, fairness and harmonious relationship. As succinctly put by Governor Akeredolu, what we, along with the southern governors, stand for is fair and equitable power rotation. The only fair thing is that after eight years in the North, Presidency should come to the south.
“We urge ACF and CNG to prevail on those within its midst whose utterances and actions are threatening the unity of the country.“