Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has backed calls by the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) that any party that does not field a southerner as its presidential candidate in 2023 will lose the election.
The SGF, through its Chairman, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had, on Tuesday, while receiving members of the Power Rotation Movement (PRM), led by the Chairman of the Middle-Belt Forum (MBF), Dr Pogu Bitrus, in his office in Akure on Tuesday, harped on the need for parties to field southern candidates, insisting that it was the turn of the south to produce the next Nigerian President.
In a response by the NEF through its spokesman, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the northern elders said northerners had the right to contest for the presidential seat in 2023, emphasising that the North could take a similar position by canvassing support for a northern candidate against the South.
Baba-Ahmed also warned that the utterances and stance of the Southern governors “could see the country suffer because Nigerians may end up selecting leaders not on the basis of their qualities but threats and intimidation.”
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However, while reacting to the NEF statement on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the South was not in anyway afraid of the North as the leadership of the country was not their exclusive birthright.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. The path we are treading is the one that will foster unity, fairness and harmonious relationship.
“The South is never, and will never be afraid of the North because the presidency of Nigeria is not their birthright.
“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,” the Yoruba group said.
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