LAGOS – Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) have insisted that the 1999 constitution and structure of Nigeria are flawed a d lopsided and there should be a restructure.
The forum in a communique on Thursday restated its demand for the fundamental restructuring of the country by enacting a new Constitution that would enthrone equity, fairness and justice.
The group stated 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 eight years by 2023, hence, the presidency should rotate to the South.
In attendance at the meeting were delegations from the four regional socio-cultural organisations, that’s: Afenifere for the South West, Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the South East, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for the South-South and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) for the Middle Belt.
The delegations were led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, Professor George Obiozor, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President of the Middle Belt Forum and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE, National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
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 His Excellency, 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,
Others were 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.
The meeting extensively discussed various issues on the State of Affairs in the country, particularly, the security situation, restructuring, preparations for the 2023 General Elections and Zoning.
The group advised that any political party that doesn’t zone its presidential ticket to the South should not expect support from the four regions, stressing that the basis of any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country such as Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of power;
It Condemned 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;
SMBLF cautions the National Assembly to 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, urges Governors and members of the National Assembly of the four regions to commit themselves to the subject of Restructuring;
It reaffirms commitment to the unity of Nigeria, situated on the tenets of Equity, Fairness, Justice, and the principle of federalism.