Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forums in Nigeria are demanding the federal government declares a national emergency on security noting that the 2023 general elections could be jeopardized if the security situation is not dealt with and banditry reduced to the barest minimum.
The leaders of the socio-political groups stated this at the end of an expanded meeting on Sunday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
In a communique issued shortly after the meeting, the leaders called on the country’s two main political parties, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as well as other political parties to zone the Presidency, in 2023 to the South; at the next election.
The communique read in parts “calls on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency on security and urgently come up with proactive strategies to restore peace and security to all parts of the country;
“Emphasizes that, if the security situation is not dealt with and banditry stopped or reduced to the barest minimum, it would not be feasible to have proper elections in 2023;
“Unequivocally and in full resolve, calls on the APC and PDP and other political parties to zone the Presidency, in 2023 to the South; at the next election.
“Enjoins political stakeholders from the South not to be lured into the unpatriotic step of seeking such other positions as National Chairmen and Vice President of the main political parties, but join forces to demand and ensure that the Presidency moves to the South in 2023.”
The leaders also criticized President Buhari’s stance on resolutions of the Governors of Southern States as it pertains to ban on open grazing and restructuring.
They insisted “that cattle rearing is a generally, private business enterprise, as such, the Federal Government should avoid committing state resources to promote any particular business, beyond providing the enabling environment, in the performance of its regulatory roles”.
In attendance were Elder statesman, Edwin Clark, who chaired the meeting, Ayo Adebanjo who leads the Southwest group Afenifere; George Obiozor – President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide for the Southeast, Pogu Bitrus – National President, Middle Belt Forum and
Senator Emmanuel Essien, National Chairman PANDEF for the South-south region.
By Abel Ejikeme