Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has joined other socio-political groups in the country to expresss its total support of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s statement on the need to shift power to the South in 2023.
The Ondo State governor had stated this while hosting members of the Power Shift Movement, who visited him in his office in Akure, the state capital, recalling that the Southern governors had last year made the power shift declaration.
In a swift reaction, spokesperson of the Coalition of Northern Groups(CNG), Mr Abul-Azeez Suleiman, criticized the governor’s statement, describing it as amounting to a threat and insinuated alleged hatred for the North.
Responding to the remarks by CNG in a statement issued on Friday and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, Pandef said the governor’s comment was fair, simply undiluted truth and intended to address injustice in the land.
It dismissed CNG’s position, saying that Akeredolu’s stance was in line with that of ethnic nationalities, particularly in four zones of the country, namely Southwest, Middle-Belt, Southeast and the South-South as represented by their respective organisations.
The statement read, “PANDEF, wholly, backs the statement of the Governor, and restates the resolution of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum at its meeting of January 13, 2022, that any political party that fields a northern candidate should not count on the support of the four regions in the 2023 presidential election.
“Why is it difficult for people to accept the truth? It is simply unthinkable that anyone would consider another northern presidency after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years.
“How can any sane person refer to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as a threat to democracy? Do they need to be apprised of the credentials of Mr. Governor?
“Organizations like the so-called Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) seem incorrigibly apathetic about the peace, unity and stability of Nigeria. They have, by their utterances, presented themselves as assemblages of unpatriotic individuals, who, perhaps, benefit from the inglorious goings-on in the country.
“PANDEF urges these groups to strive to appreciate the true tenets of democracy and stop the hallucination. The north should not and cannot retain Nigeria’s presidency beyond 29th May 2023, in the interest of national harmony.
“Defining the just and rightful demands for zoning and power rotation as threats and blackmail is a logical fallacy. Nobody is threatening nor attempting to intimidate anyone; the South, and other patriotic Nigerians who are concerned about the future of Nigeria, are simply insisting that the fundamental principles of fairness, justice and equity must be respected and upheld in the power equation of Nigeria.
“Let’s remind the said Coalition of Northern Groups and their sympathizers that the appropriation of rights by any section of the country must be measured against the rights of the others. Undoubtedly, no group or section of Nigeria can arrogate to itself or colonize the presidency of Nigeria.”