South, Middle Belt leaders demand power shift from North

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Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) yesterday urged All Progressives () and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone their presidential tickets to the South ahead of the 2023 election.

It called for a new constitution and restructuring of country.

SMBLF, in communique issued at end of its expanded meeting in , enjoined political stakeholders from South to be lured into the “unpatriotic step” of accepting positions, such as national chairman of a party and Vice President.

It said they should rather join forces to demand and ensure that the Presidency moves to the South in 2023.

On security, MBLF called on the government to declare “a national on security and urgently come up with proactive strategies to restore and security to all parts of the country”.

“If the security situation is dealt with and stopped or reduced to the barest minimum, it would be feasible to have proper elections in 2023,” the Forum said

The leaders condemned the government’ stance towards the resolutions of the Southern governors to ban open grazing and on restructuring.

MBLF said: “We insist that cattle rearing is a generally private business enterprise.

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“As such, the Federal Government should avoid committing resources to promote any particular business beyond providing the enabling environment in the performance of its regulatory roles.”

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of , saying it “must only be sustained on the principles of equity, fairness and justice”.

MBLF leader Chief Edwin Clark said power must shift.

He said: “This country belongs to all of us. The North alone or the South alone cannot rule this country.”

Clark said runs a unitary system of government, insisting it is to restructure.”

On the ongoing amendment to the constitution, Clark said: “We want a brand new constitution. I have no confidence in any amendment to the constitution.”

He added: “ should be restructured. President Buhari once said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill . I say if we don’t restructure, will die. Secession is the answer.

“We want to continue. We want the 2023 presidency zoned to the South.”

At the meeting were leaders of Afenifere Ayo Adebanjo; President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Prof. George Obiozor; Air Commodore Dan Sulieman, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, Bitrus Pogu, Godknows Igali, among others.