Nigeria’s Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has stipulated its positions on what it considers the key issues facing the country, “the fundamental restructuring of the country by enacting a new Constitution that would enthrone equity, fairness and justice” and alter the current “Structure of Nigeria” which the Forum described as “grossly flawed and lopsided.”
Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
To operationalize the seriousness of their position from the meeting held on Thursday, January 13, 2022 in Abuja under the Chairmanship of elder statesman, Chief Dr. Edwin K. Clark (OFR, CON), with delegations from the four regional socio-cultural organizations led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo (leader of Afenifere), Prof. George Obiozor (President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, (President of the Middle Belt Forum) and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien (National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF) issued a communique where they noted 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.”
The Forum stated that “any political party that does not zone its presidential ticket to the South should not expect support from the four regions.”
The Forum said the meeting was also attended by former Governors, Ministers, federal and state legislators, top politicians and professionals from the Southern and Middle Belt regions, including Obong Victor Attah, former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu, Simon N. Okeke, OFR, Chief Supo Shonibare, Akin Fapohunda, Amb. Okey Emuchay, MFR, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Prof. G. G. Darah, Solomon Asemota, SAN, Dr. Alex Ogbonna, Mr. Mac Emakpore, Chief Douyi Douglas-Naingba, Mrs. Nella Andem-Rabana, SAN, Prof. Mrs. Chinwe Obaji, Maj. Gen. Henry Ayoola (Rtd), Engr. Ben Akaakar, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Comrade Jare Ajayi and Ken Robinson, among others.
The Forum raised concern and “discussed various issues on the State of Affairs in the country, particularly, the security situation, restructuring, preparations for the 2023 General Elections and zoning of positions.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General from the northern section of Nigeria is, from the tally of USAfrica News Index of his interviews and statements, opposed to “restructuring” of Nigeria.
The Forum condemned what it identified as “the continued senseless killings of innocent citizens across the country by terrorists and criminals, especially in the North West Zone; calls on the government and security agencies to redouble efforts to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians; and cautions the National Assembly to only give consideration to Bills that would promote equity, justice, peace and national cohesion instead of issues that will exacerbate conflicts and crisis in the country.”