Afenifere, M’Belt Forum, PANDEF, Ohanaeze unite, back Peter Obi


The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), comprising Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, rose from an extraordinary meeting, yesterday, declaring support for Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and his running mate, Ahmed Datti, for the 2023 general elections.

At the meeting, held at Wells Carlton Hotel, Asokoro, Abuja, the immediate President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former Minister of Information, John Nwodo, read a communique issued by the coalition.

He said members of the Forum would work assiduously in their various constituencies to promote objectives agreed upon and ensure they are realised for the progress of Nigeria.


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Declaring that Peter Obi is “the rock upon which Nigeria will stand,” the Forum warned “all those who want to change the hands of the clock of Nigeria by doing anything that will derail a peaceful transition to the next civilian government of this country, that we shall rise like one man in defense of the ballot box and that Nigerians must go to vote.

“This we have resolved today, and we enjoin other Nigerians who do not belong to our organisation to join us in realising this.”

The Forum added: “We give our unalloyed vote of thanks to our father and leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for his boldness, his sagacity, his tenacity and his relentlessness in pursuing the aims and aspirations of this organisation.”

In a related development, Clark demanded that Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, step down immediately as vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for “betraying his colleagues in the Southern Governors’ Forum and the South.”

At a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, the elder statesman, former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South Leader read a letter to the governor, dated February 2, 2023, titled: ‘Your government and the reign of unaccountability in Delta State’.

He said: “I can understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your own selfish ambition by wanting to land on a safer ground, by accepting to serve as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“No, by God’s grace, your prayer will not be answered. Perhaps, you have forgotten the gravity of the offense you have committed against the people of Southern Nigeria.”

“You gave them a very good reception and provided them a secretariat that drafted the communiqué under your supervision, which was ably read by the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
“It was indeed a bombshell, as you collectively demanded for Southern presidency and insisted that none of you should accept to be a vice president.
“Shortly afterwards, the SMBLF, which I lead, gave the governor’s declaration 100 per cent support and declared that no Southern serving governors, legislators or politicians should accept to be running mate, particularly to Atiku Abubakar.
“Little did we know that you were using this to perfect your secret plan to be running mate to Atiku Abubakar from the very beginning.”

Clark added: “It is, therefore, in your own interest to openly apologise to your colleagues of both APC and PDP whom you deceived in taking a decision you never believed in. After your unreserved apology to your people and Southern Nigeria, you should step down your ambition of becoming vice presidential candidate of the PDP. There your honour lies.”

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