As skeletal preparations begin for the 2023 presidential election, eminent leaders, under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) have unequivocally declared that they won’t support any political parties that fields in a northern candidate in the upcoming election.
The group who made the decision known after a meeting which held in Abuja, Friday, demanded that political parties in the country should zone their presidential slot to the South in the interest of the unity of the country.
Those at the meeting include delegations from the four regional socio-cultural organisations: Afenifere (South West), led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Ohanaeze Ndigbo (South-East) led by Prof. George Obiozor; Pan Niger Delta Forum (South-South) led by Chief Edwin Clark and the Middle Belt Forum (Middle Belt) led by Dr. Pogu Bitrus.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the leaders also jointly called for the amendment of the Constitution as well as restructuring of the country.
The communique partly reads, “Arising there from, 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.”
The declaration by the Southern and Middle Belt leaders comes after one of the national leaders of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; media personality, Dele Momodu; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; former Governor of Abia State and Majority Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu; former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, have declared intention to contest for the highest seat in the land.
Though majority of those that have declared their intention are from the south, it is rumoured that ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who are all from the northern part of the country are all interested in contesting in the 2023 presidential election.