Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has declared support for calls by the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) for power to be rotated to the south in 2023.
Governor of Ondo State and Chairman of the forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, had while hosting members of the Power Shift Movement at his office in Akure, the state capital.
On Tuesday, Akeredolu had hosted members of the Power Shift Movement who visited him in his office in Akure, the state capital, and reiterated SGF’s position on power shift.
The movement was led by its leader, Pogu Bitrus and co-chair, General Collins Ihekire.
In a statement on Thursday by its spokesperson, Jare Ajayi, Afenifere tackled the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) over their criticism of Akeredolu and the SGF.
The ACF and CNG had on Wednesday heavily criticised the governor in their separate statements. While the Arewa Consultative Forum described Akeredolu’s assertion as amounting to a threat and unacceptable, the Coalition of Northern Group alleged hatred for the North.
But reacting, Afenifere dismissed ACF and CNG’s allegations, saying that Akeredolu’s position was in line with that of the ethnic nationalities, particularly in the four zones in the country, namely South-West, Middle-Belt, South-East and the South-South as represented by their respective organisations.
According to the pan- Yoruba socio-political group, the organisations are Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Ohaneze NdIgbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) who, it said collectively formed the South and Middle- Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), adding that all the groups were all represented at the meeting with Governor Akeredolu.
It read, “They were there along with Comrade Kennedy Iyere, coordinator of the Power Shift Movement and the 40 Million Ballot – an important component of the Power Shift Movement.
“Governor Akeredolu is very much in line with the position of the SMBLF as further reiterated at its recent meeting in Abuja where all political parties in the country were urged to field candidates of southern extraction for the purpose of 2023 presidential election.
“Governor Akeredolu spoke our minds when he said that ‘only a party that is determined to lose will field a northern candidate,” it said.
“This position was very much in line with the resolution of the SMBLF as reiterated at its last meeting held in the house of its National Leader, Pa Edwin Clark.”
Afenifere advised both the ACF and CNG to discard claims that the South hated the North, saying that Nigeria belonged to all and that SMBLF was on the path that fostered unity, fairness and harmonious relationship in the country.
It added: “Nigeria belongs to all of us. The path we are treading is the one that will foster unity, fairness and harmonious relationship. As succinctly put by Governor Akeredolu, what we, along with the southern governors, stand for ‘is fair and equitable power rotation.
“The only fair thing is that after eight years in the North, the presidency should come to the South,” Afenifere posited.
Afenifere, while urging ACF and CNG to prevail on those within their midst whose utterances and actions were threatening the unity of the country, reflected on the case of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Babazango, who allegedly threatened violent attack against Vincent Umeh, who is from South-East for buying property near his house in Adamawa State.