The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) Monday alleged that there were subterranean forces working on an agenda aimed at frustrating the power shift arrangement from the North to the South in 2023.
The allegation came on the heels of the opposition mounted by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and Northern Leaders of Thought (NLT) against power rotation at their recent meeting, which was held at the Arewa House, Kaduna. At the meeting, both groups kicked against the clamour for power shift by many Nigerians.
MBF, the umbrella organisation for all ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt region, dissociated itself from the plot and warned that any threat against power shift to the South in 2023 would be dangerous to the unity and progress of Nigeria.
National President of MBF, Dr Pogu Bitrus, who spoke on behalf of the group, said that by May 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, should have completed two tenures of four years each as provided for in the Nigerian Constitution. He argued that to insist that another Northerner should continue in power beyond May 2023 amounts to violating the arrangement on power shift that has become the norm since the return of democracy in May 1999.
“We stand for justice and freedom for all. The MBF is completely against the NLT’s opposition to power shift in 2023. Those who met in Kaduna at the weekend must halt further attempts to create political turmoil for our nation.
“Members of the NLT are not political leaders; they are forerunners of some nebulous political forces determined to foist fiery dark clouds over our country’s political skies. To insist that the power-sharing arrangement should be jettisoned now is an open invitation to anarchy that may ultimately lead to the breakup of the country.
“We need to remind Nigerians that the Middle Belt has always insisted that power must shift to the South in 2023. In the event that the South is unable to present a presidential candidate, we have confirmed our readiness to support the emergence of a presidential candidate of the Middle Belt extraction for the 2023 polls. We are in agreement with the Southern socio-cultural groups in the struggle for power shift to the South in 2023,” he said.
Bitrus called on political parties to disregard what he described as the “chicanery of the leaders of the so-called North” and their opposition to zoning in 2023. According to him, those who gathered in Kaduna last weekend were political jobbers engaged in carrying the commands of their masters that are lurking in the shadows.
Bitrus argued that since President Buhari had not demonstrated enough courage and political will in to confronting the issue of insecurity, power shift offers an opportunity for the next administration to deal with the terrorist groups behind the unending insecurity across the country.