Leaders and elders from the South-East, South-West, South-South, and Middle Belt regions, united under the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), have emphasized that Nigeria belongs to all its citizens, regardless of their ethnic background or political affiliation.
In a communiqué issued after their national meeting held in Abuja, the SMBLF called for the urgent restructuring of the country and the establishment of genuine federalism, echoing the principles enshrined in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.
The group highlighted the importance of restructuring, describing it as essential for the future of Nigeria and its democracy. They stressed that without immediate restructuring, the nation’s prospects remain dim.
Represented by leaders from prominent socio-cultural organizations, including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Pan Niger Delta Forum, and the Middle Belt Forum, the SMBLF addressed concerns related to marginalization. They pointed out that certain regions have faced marginalization in terms of states, local governments, and appointments to the Federal Executive Council.
The SMBLF also supported the South-East leaders’ call for appropriate representation in the Federal Executive Council and urged the Federal Government to heed this request.
Additionally, the group called for the urgent release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), believing that it would contribute to peace and security in the South-East.
The national meeting, chaired by Chief Edwin Clark and attended by prominent leaders, such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, and Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien, aimed to address crucial issues related to the nation’s unity and governance.