Apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Tiv nation have superscribe the quest by the South East to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
They, however, demanded that the country must be restructured before the 2023 general election to guarantee its continued co-existence as one country.
They made their position known during the launch of Power Shift Movement and Forty Million Ballots Movement in Awka, Anambra State, hosted by the President of Youths Off the Street Initiative (YOTSI), Kennedy Iyere.
Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseni, who represented the leader of the Yoruba nation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the group was in support of the South East producing the next president.
“Southern presidency is a means to an end. It is not something to celebrate because even if we have a southern president, you cannot have one more powerful than Obasanjo and nothing is being done.The fundamental thing is restructuring. But in the meantime, let those who have not tasted it, let them have it,” he said.
He said the Yoruba nation was not happy that Igbo people were not coming out to declare their interest for the position even when people of southern Nigeria have declared support for them.
“We hear people from the South West want to be president, and even in the north which we have said has had enough for now; they want to be president. I have not seen men from the South East come out and say that they want to be president. It is not a matter of newspapers or reeling out statistics. It is a question of let us see these men. If you don’t take your destiny in your hand politically, it will continue to be statistics on the pages of the newspaper.”
On restructuring he said: “Nigeria must be restructured between now and the 2023 election. This country cannot afford to be run as a unitary state when we are actually a federal state. Restructuring, from our own point of view, is to invent or recreate the constitution or the fundamental covenant of our existence which we were when Awolowo on one side, Zik on one side and Ahmadu Bello on one side, came together.
Nigeria was by negotiation and restructuring must continue. If you eat and I don’t eat, there can never be peace. So, our position is that towards 2023, let our leaders be realistic enough to ensure that the Nigerian state is restructured. The 1999 constitution is dangerously skewed against the Igbo man. It is terribly skewed against the Igbo man.”
Leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, represented by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Kenneth Robinson, said the Niger Delta was in support of the South East producing the successor to President Buhari, but asked that the Igbo take the lead.
“For PANDEF, we stand for power shift to Southern Nigeria. Igbo people deserve the presidency of Nigeria. But it must go beyond deserving it. You must work for it. You must reach out to other groups,” Clark said.
Leader of the Tiv nation, Chief Iorbee Ihagh, said his people have agreed that the presidency should go to South and the South East in particular. He, however, said that if the Igbo failed to come out and lead the movement, Tiv people may declare for the coveted post.
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