Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of Afenifere, has charged that northern political Leaders are separating the South as part of their game plan to maintain power in 2023.
Adebanjo addressed yesterday in Abuja at the Greater Nigeria Conference (GNC), which was organised and well-attended by South East political heavyweights including sitting governors, past governors, senators, and others.
The conference’s theme was ‘South East Asians’ quest for the presidency #togetherwecan#.
Adebanjo stated that the Northern political gladiators had previously emphasised zoning but are now preaching merit and competence in order to manoeuvre the North to retain power following the death of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated that if it were not for the notion of zoning, certain prior presidents of Northern ancestry would not have been elected.
“Let us tell Nigerians where it should be and quit fooling ourselves,” he remarked. We have arrived to a fork in the road. My position is to state the facts plainly.
“The North does not wish to cede control, and their sole strategy is to split the South in order to seize power in 2023. They intend to begin by dividing the South West. Now it is the South East’s time; they (North) are now discussing competence and merit.”
Chief Adebanjo also urged former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Nyesom Wike, and other South South presidential hopefuls to resign and enable the South East to produce President Buhari’s successor.
“I’m appealing to Wike and other South South hopefuls; they’re not helping matters,” he remarked. Individuals such as Jonathan exacerbate the problem. President Goodluck Jonathan consented to his humiliation.”
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum’s (PANDEF) President and the Middle Belt Forum’s (MBF) President have endorsed South East for the 2023 presidency.
“The people of the South East deserve the president of our country,” Edwin Clark, President of the PANDEF, declared during the occasion. Let us do the right thing. Allow everyone to support a president of South East Asian ancestry. Allow them a chance.”
Similarly, Dr Pogu Bitrus, President of the Middle Belt Forum, stated, “The South East will produce a president who will take office on May 29, 2023.” We are all here for the same reason. We would not be here if we were not in support of this.”
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) responded by stating that the forum will continue to demand that every Nigerian should have an equal opportunity to vie for every open position in the country.
The NEF said in a response to Chief Adebanjo on Monday that it makes no apologies for insisting that zoning, which is only recognised by the Peoples Democratic Party, restricts the scope for leadership selection, harms the country in terms of the quality of leadership that emerges, and should not be a source of conflict in the country.
The NEF, through its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the forum will refrain from exchanging insults with Chief Adebanjo because it has determined that doing so would be pointless.