By Ralph Madugu
The Middle Belt Journalists Forum has dissociated itself from the posture of the Northern Governors Forum on power rotation.
MBJF which is an umbrella body of professional journalists that speaks for northern minorities in a statement signed in Abuja by its president, Jonathan Ipaa and National Secretary, Mrs Oikeke Igado-Kure said the attack on the rotational presidency as being canvassed by the Governors from the southern part of the Nigeria was a political understanding to maintain peace, unity and political stability.
MBJF counseled the NGF not to “support evil or any pronouncements that could further divide the country.”
“We view the Monday’s pronouncements by the Northern Governors Forum as unnecessary utterances made to further divide the country and hit up the polity.”
On the NGF position on the VAT debate, the MBJF said, “We condemned in strong terms the position of the Northern Governors Forum NGF on the nagging postulations on the 2023 presidential election and the Value Added Tax debate in which some Governors from the southern part are clamouring for.
“Painfully and regrettably is the fact that the evil resolution was read in Kaduna by a supposed Governor from our zone, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state.
While admonishing the NGF Chairman and governor of Plateau State, Gov. Simon Lalong and his colleagues to concentrate on ensuring lasting peace in Plateau and other states in the region as a matter of priority “than allow himself to be used by those he is working for.
MBJF warned that the Middle Belt will not be part of any attempt to further divide Nigeria by selfish politicians. We have made enough sacrifice without any commiserating national reward.
“We warn that the Middle Belt will not be part of any attempt to further divide Nigeria by selfish politicians. We have made enough sacrifice without any commiserating national reward.
“We believe strongly in the unity of Nigeria so; we will not support evil resolution that only seeks to deny other equally congruent segments of the federation their rightful benefits.
“We applaud the conspicuous absence of some of the Middle Belt Governors from the Kaduna meeting.”
Reiterating its believe in the oneness of Nigeria hence it will not support evil resolution that only seeks to deny other equally congruent segments of the federation their rightful benefits.
“We applaud the conspicuous absence of some of the Middle Belt Governors from the Kaduna meeting. Don’t Support Evil.”
Meanwhile, the Middle Belt Forum has expressed shocked that instead of harping on the bloodshed ripping across the country, governors and traditional rulers from the North region are concerned with which of the zones takes over power in 2023.
As the umbrella body of all ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt Region, the MBF also said they are surprised that it is now that the Northern Governors F Forum whose members are beneficiaries of power rotation are kicking against power shift to the South.
Reacting to recent resolutions of the NGF, MBF in a statement signed by its National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus said “It is not only immoral but also dubious on the part of these governors who have proven incapable of combating the activities of criminals in their various states to now insist that power rotation is not in line with our nation’s constitution.”
The MBF reiterated that in line with the resolve of the National Executive Committee ((NEC) of the Forum recently in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, calling for power rotation among three regions of the North, Middle Belt and South, the MBF stated that it deplore a situation where the Middle Belt Region is completely excluded in the power sharing arrangement.
“We have been consistent in insisting that for equity and justice to hold sway, power rotation is irrevocable.
“We have called and demanded that the 2023 Presidency be zoned to the Middle Belt. In the event that such demand is unrealizable, all ethnic nationalities of the Middle Belt Region are resolved to support any presidential candidate from the South.”
The MBF said it sad that the Northern Elders’ Forum has turned itself into a forerunner of the “treacherous plot against power rotation” which has stabilized the political situation and given various parts of the country a sense of belonging.
Said MBF “We find it strange that the North under whose leadership Nigeria has continued to perform woefully should even contemplate the idea of retaining power in 2023.
“Over six years of Northern leadership has brought Nigerians to a catastrophe that is unprecedented. Not only have the prosperity for a bright tomorrow retarded, insecurity, unemployment and other societal vices have left its toll on national life.
“As a Forum, we find it incomprehensible to understand the basis upon which the North is clamouring for power retention. By 2023, the North should have forfeited all moral rights to retain power in line with the zoning arrangement of political parties. We cannot allow the North which is now throwing decorum into the air and continue to pursue a selfish agenda that could capsize the ship of the Nigerian State.”
According to the Forum, the best the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari should do now is to prepare ground for the conduct of transparent polls that would either usher in a presidency to be headed by a Middle Belter or Southerner stressing that anything short of that is unacceptable to the Middle Belt peoples.
While calling on the people of the zone not to be worried by the remarks credited to the NGF, it however called on them to remain vigilant against any attempt to foist a divide-and -rule ploy that is aimed at weakening the collective resolve of the people to stand as a one united and committed to the protection of the people, land and heritage.
“The Forum wishes to categorically declare that there is no treachery that is enough to frustrate power rotation in 2023. Having seen the bloodshed and destruction that have been the lot of most communities in various parts of our nation, our citizens eagerly look forward to processes for transferring power from the North to either the Middle Belt or Southern Zone.
“In light of the above, we are dissuading Nigerians not to take seriously comments emanating from governors of the so-called North. We wish to note here that the Colonial North had since died. Those attempting to raise the ghost of Northern unity should better look elsewhere than engage in futile exercise.”