By Francis Nansak
The Middle Belt Journalists Forum, MBJF, has distanced itself from the Northern Governors Forum’s (NGF) position that the North should again produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023, stressing that it was against the already established understanding of rotational presidency in the country.
MBJF also picks holes in the rejection by the NGF of the Port Harcourt High Court judgment, which empowers states to collect Value Added Tax from their states, instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS. According to the group, it is sub-judicial for the governors to discuss and even issue a communique on a matter that is still pending in court.
The forum stressed that rotational presidency which is being canvassed by the Governors from the southern part of the Nigeria, is based on a political understanding that was reached many years ago, and which has fostered national peace, unity and political stability in the country, and so should not be jettisoned at this point by any group for their selfish political gains.
The MBJF in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday and signed by its president, Jonathan Ipaa and National Secretary, Mrs Oikeke Igado-Kure, respectively, urged the governors and people of the Middle-Belt not to support the NGF’s position, which it described as a “selfish, self-serving, dangerous ostrich game that is inimical to national peaceful coexistence and capable of disintegrating the country.”
“We condemn in strong terms the controversial position of the Northern Governors Forum NGF on the 2023 presidency and the Value Added Tax, which some Governors from the southern part are genuinely clamoring for and so we align ourselves with the Southern Governors’ Forum in their selfless and patriotic demands.
“We view the Northern Governors Forum’s standpoint on the 2023 presidency as self-serving, unpatriotic, brazenly provocative and dangerously capable of overheating the polity at this point in time.
“It is also unfortunate and regrettable that the NGF is chaired by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, from the Middle-Belt, who we understand was the only governor from the zone that attended the meeting and who also was mandated to read the Kaduna Communique.
“While we applaud the conspicuous absence of other Middle-Belt Governors from the Kaduna meeting, we urge Gov Lalong and his fellow Middle-Belt governors to re-strategize, retrace their steps and focus more on how to end the scourge of the foreign Fulani terrorists who have already encircled the entire Middle-Belt for the purpose of launching more daring genocidal attacks against the people obviously for the purpose of taking over their ancestral lands and turning them to IDPs.
“The Middle-Belt which has over the years been made a sacrificial lamb in the course of Nigeria’s national unity without any commensurate national reward. should not be part of any attempt to cause further bloodshed in the country and further divide Nigeria by selfish politicians.
“As patriots, we strongly subscribe to an uncompromising standpoint of national unity and cohesion, so the Middle-Belt should not support any agenda by any guise whatsoever. that seeks to deny other ethnic groups and geopolitical zones of the federation their right to occupy the highest office in the country.
“The MBJF believes that it is of utmost national interest that the Middle-Belt (and all well-meaning Nigerians) should align with the South-West, South-East and South-South geopolitical zones to produce the next president of Nigeria in the interest of fairness, equity, equality, peaceful coexistence and national unity,” the statement said.
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