Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has claimed that despite opposition from prominent groups like the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), many northerners are in support of zoning the presidency to the South in 2023.
Speaking on Arise TV, MBF National President, Bitrus Pogu, said despite eight years of northern presidency, insecurity persists and bandits are still unleashing mayhem on many states.
He said it is also the view of the average northerner that in the interest of equity and fairness, the presidency should be allowed to return to the South after the North has had it for eight years.
“We started a movement at Awka to support the emergence of a southern president in 2013 so that the rotation principle established in this country would be adhered to and we believe it would address so many of our problems.
“At the meeting in Awka, we also decided to launch the ‘40 million ballot movement’ so that the youths, that constitute a majority in our voting population, would key into this new development that would transform Nigeria.
“If any political party decides to field someone from the North, we would campaign against such a political party and the party should know we are determined. We went to see Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, to tell him of our position so that he would convey this position to his colleagues. We know there are very competent people in the South who can transform Nigeria from the economic misdeeds which we are now suffering.
“If people misconstrue the demand for what is right and expedient as a threat, then it is unfortunate. We have done this in the past and it worked for Nigeria. Those of us in the Middle Belt see the northern presidency now as one which is full of sentiments and nepotism and with people who call the insurgents, ‘our boys’, rather than regard them as a menace. We feel those in Arewa Consultative Forum who are holding on to the belief that the North should continue holding the presidency by 2023 should have a rethink.
“There are so many people in the North who feel the presidency has to move to the South and what is bad is bad no matter how much you would want to garnish it. We will engage the Northern Elders’ Forum in due course even though I know that deep down, many of them know what is right and that, this is in the best interest of Nigeria.
“Those of us who are advocating the presidency to move to the South feel we have had eight years of northern presidency and it has not augured well for Nigeria.
“There is also the gentleman’s agreement that the presidency should rotate from the North to the South and back to the North and we feel it is only proper that we do this to address many of the problems we are facing. We need a southern president who will deal with the bandit problem as a Nigerian problem and not as ‘our boys’ problem,” he said.