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2023: Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Urges Delegates To Vote Southern Presidential Candidates 

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Friday at a press conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State urged delegates from the two main political parties, the All Progressive Party, APC, and People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to reject presidential candidates from the northern region of the country and vote candidates from the southern part of the country in their party’s primaries slated for the end of May.  

The group insisted that zoning and rotation of the Presidency of Nigeria are fundamental to the future existence of the country, and faulted what it called obvious schemes by the two main political parties, the All Progressives  Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone the presidency to the North.

The group in a press statement signed by leaders of the socio-political organisations Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader, Afenifere; Dr Pogu Bitrus, President-General, Middle Belt Forum; Professor George Obiozor, President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, National Chairman, PANDEF,  warns 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.

The group calls 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.

It 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 commitment of present and future generations of southern Nigeria to senseless political vassalage.

It 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.

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 has traditionally served as the glue holding the Federal Republic of Nigeria together.

The group insists that, in observance of the principles of justice, equity, fairness and political inclusiveness, the south, and particularly, the South-East zone, being the third leg on which Nigeria’s political trajectory had revolved, should produce the next President of the country in 2023, stressing that this would bring the Igbo quest for full reintegration and reconciliation, since the end of the Civil War in 1970, to full realisation.

“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, OFR 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, the statement reads.

Credit: Daily Independent

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