The Southern, Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has rejected the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying it’s exposes the insensitivity of the political elite to the issues of unity and peace in the country.
The SMBLF’s rejection of Atiku is part of its resolution taken at its meeting on Sunday in which it described the emergence of the PDP presidential candidate as “a brazen affront” to the South.
The SMBLF statement reads:
“Unfortunately, it appears that Nigeria’s unity and peace mean little or nothing to a segment of the country’s political elite. This was demonstrated at the PDP special convention on Saturday, May 28, 2022, where certain candidates from the North were pressured, coerced, and even intimidated into stepping down for former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who eventually emerged as the party’s flagbearer, in blatant disregard for the established principle of zoning and power rotation between the north and south,” according to the statement.
“Unquestionably, the single motive is to maintain northern hegemony, given that President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north and of Fulani ancestry, will have served his full eight-year term by this time next year.”
In the interest of posterity, the SMBLF completely rejects Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s PDP candidacy and urges our people in Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt, as well as all true lovers of peace and unity, not to vote for him or any other Northerner in the 2023 presidential election.
“The SMBLF also urges all aspirants for the office of President from southern Nigeria to reject conceited individualism and self-confidence in favour of working together to achieve shared goals.”
“Once again, the SMBLF urges all politicians of southern ancestry to refuse to serve as a running mate for any northern presidential candidate, as this will be seen as akin to enslaving their people to political slavery.”
Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) south-south; Okey Emuchay, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, south-east; Jare Ajayi Afenifere, south-west; Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt Forum (MBF); and Ken Robinson, acting coordinator SMBLF are among the signatories to the statement.