The Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG) says the region deserves a shot at the presidency at the next elections in return for its numerous contributions to peace and development of the country.
The group noted that the zone has suffered neglect since the return of democracy in 1999, yet to test power at the national level despite its massive role in the emergence of leaders.
Speaking at a press conference today in Abuja, its General Secretary, Elder Omale Ben Amedu, said a power shift to the south would not only be misplaced but a great disservice to the North-Central part of the country.
Judging by competence, capacity and pedigree, Elder Amedu said Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is the most suitable choice to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Recall that the governor had earlier today met with President Buhari and harped on North-Central presidency for the sake of equity and justice.
Throwing their weight behind the governor, the Middle Belt Conscience Guard said only someone from the region can unite the nation amidst threats of secession from ther other zones.
The group said after a stakeholders meeting, it was concluded that with Governor Bello, Nigeria will be in safe hands.
The Middle-Belt forum, however, distanced itself from individuals and groups from the region canvassing for power shift to the South, noting that they are bereft of ideas.
It, therefore, urged all stakeholders, sons and daughters of the zone to show their support for Bello as he proven to be tailor-made for the job.
Read full statement below:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the leadership of the Middle Belt Conscience Guard, warmly welcome you all to this press conference convoked to highlight the crucial discourse in the country amid the clamour for the region in the country that should produce the next president.
As a body, we are constrained to lend our voice to this debate in the national interest and, given the dynamics involved in such an enterprise, which might have unpleasant consequences if not carefully handled.
As we may be aware, the polity is charged with various agitations, some of appropriate content and some of the unreasonable content. However, what we must not fail to come to terms is the fact that given the geographical spread of the country, and its inherent peculiarities, power shift to the southern part of the country would not only be misplaced, it would be a great disservice to the North Central part of the country.
It must be stated in unequivocal terms that the North Central part of Nigeria, which by nomenclature can still be regarded as the Middle Belt, has been integral to the country’s socio-economic development since the return of democracy in 1999.
It is also on record that the North Central region in Nigeria has always played the beautiful bride during elections. Its commitment to the Nigerian cause has never been in doubt during and after the elections in Nigeria.
It, therefore, beats the imagination for any individual or group from the Middle Belt region to canvass for power shift to the South, while the Middle Belt/North Central has not enjoyed such privilege despite its numerous contributions to the peace and unity of the country without any form of grumblings.
It suffices to add that the history book is replete with instances where the Middle Belt/North Central region held the ace during the elections. In its characteristics manner, it ensured a peaceful process in the overarching interest of the country.
It is our considered view that those Middle Belters that are canvassing for power shift to the South are bereft of ideas because the Middle Belt/North Central boasts of very credible candidates with the capacity to translate our hopes and aspirations into tangible realities.
We also wish to place it on record that the presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State indeed has the blessings of the Middle Belt region because he is one of us and highly regarded for his exploits, not just in Kogi state but the entire Middle Belt/North Central region.
His pedigree speaks volumes of a man committed to advancing the country’s cause by unifying all regions and ensuring that the country experiences tangible growth and development, which has been his hallmark in his capacity as the Governor of Kogi state.
It would thus amount to betrayal for groups and individuals from the Middle Belt region to agitate for power shift to the South. It is not only preposterous; it goes further to state that those at the vanguard of such agitations are not true sons and daughters of the region.
Consequently, we are appalled at such disposition, which amounts to a lack of strategy and foresight. We are tempted to believe that pecuniary gains might have propelled the agitations.
The fact that the Middle Belt has not enjoyed such benefits since the return of democracy in 1999 makes it more curious why Nigerians should disregard any form of agitation from groups parading themselves as representing the interest of the Middle Belt in the buildup to the general elections in 2023.
Either they have sold their conscience in return for a plate of porridge, or they have elected to heat the polity unnecessarily in the puerile attempt to cast aspersion on the credibility of the array of qualified aspirants from the Middle Belt/North Central region.
The Middle Belt Conscience Guard wishes to use this medium to inform the generality of the public that the agitation for power shift to the South by these perceived groups parading themselves as representing the interest of the Middle Belt is misplaced and should be disregarded in its entirety for lacking in merit and common sense.
This is aside from the fact that It will also amount to a betrayal of the Ebira nation and other minority groups in the north for anyone to begin to canvass for power shift to the south when the Middle Belt people are yet to have their turn as far as this country is concerned.
The Middle Belt Conscience Guard also believe that at this moment, it is only someone from the Middle Belt that will be able to unite the country. With the kind of leadership that Nigerians have confirmed that Governor Yahaya Bello has provided in Kogi State, one can only be assured that Nigeria will be in safe hands.
Thus, our support for the presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello is unflinching. We hold firmly that given the present circumstances in the country, Governor Yahaya Bello has all it takes to address the myriads of challenges confronting the country at this critical point of our existence.
We also wish to state that this position is hinged on the various high-level stakeholders’ consultation with well-meaning individuals and groups in the Middle Belt region, who were unanimous in their choice of Governor Yahaya Bello as the best candidate from the region to lead Nigeria to the path of sustainable growth and development.
We are also using this medium to warn those parading themselves as representing the interest of the Middle Belt to desist from such enterprise that is aimed at casting the Middle Belt/ North Central region as lacking credible candidates and unrecognized as a stakeholder in the scheme of things in the country.
Our firm position is that the Middle Belt/North Central is deserving of a shot at governance at the national level in return for its numerous contributions to peace and development in Nigeria. And the aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state indeed presents us with that unique opportunity that we must grab with both hands.
We thank you all for your time and attention. We desire that Governor Yahaya Bello’s aspiration to lead our great country would gather the required momentum in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
- Thanks, and God Bless Nigeria.