The Middle Belt forum has joined the call from some quarters that the Southern region of Nigeria should produce the next President, on the premise that Northern leaders have failed to address insecurity in the North, despite being in power.
Speaking on The Morning Show of Arise Television, the National President of the Forum, Dr. Bitros Pogu, argued that insecurity had festered in the country because northern leaders were pampering bandits and terrorists in their region.
Pogu reacted to the verbal exchange between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG). Akeredolu who is the Chairman of the Southern governors forum had demanded that no political party should field a northern candidate in the 2023 presidential election, while the CNG responded that such demand “is a threat to democracy”
The middle belt leader opined that Akeredolu’s demand was legitimate, while stating that the North was used to dominating the political space.
“The North thinks they can boss others around, if there are threats, it is the North that is issuing threats, maybe the north is not used to being challenged, that is why they now see the statement by the governor of Ondo and Chairman of the Southern governors forum as a threat. As far as I am concerned that is a demand that is legitimate.”
He maintained that the President Buhari-led administration had failed to end insurgency because the insurgents were northerners who were being pampered.
He said Northern leaders were treating the issue of insurgency as a northern problem, when it actually affects the whole country.
“We have had eight years of a Northern President, and it has not augured well with Nigeria. The gentlemanly arrangement that the Presidency should rotate from the North to the South and South to the North for now is to address many of the problems we are facing.
“Soldiers are empowered just to keep watch of villages rather than go after terrorists whose locations are known to government.
“These ‘our boys’ syndrome of the North, many of us think it should stop, and one of the solutions apart from the arrangement of power rotation, is to have a southern president who will deal with the problem as a Nigerian problem not ‘our boys problem’, so that we can all be better for it.
“You can’t say we just want the right candidate, because the right candidate is determined by who has the big pocket; the right candidate has to do with people who can make the greatest noise… We are saying that is wrong. Right candidate is who can do the job, not who has a big pocket. We are saying the right candidate can come from the South and can change things for Nigeria, because we know that the insurgents, the terrorists are being given soft landing,” he said.
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka.
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