Posted by By RAZAQ BAMIDELE on
At a time the Peoples Democratic Party, All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and other political parties have released timetable on their national conventions for the 2007 elections the Southern Forum (SF) has restated its commitment to produce a southern president in 2007.
At a time the Peoples Democratic Party, All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and other political parties have released timetable on their national conventions for the 2007 elections the Southern Forum (SF) has restated its commitment to produce a southern president in 2007. It warned that any aspirant from the southern geo-political zone who campaigns for the post of a vice president would be ostracised and disowned.
Addressing a world press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, the General Secretary of the Forum, Dr Oladejo Raimi, emphasized that for the spirit of equity, justice and fair play, power must go round first to those who have not benefited, warning that "any southern aspirant who campaigns for the office of the vice president would be ostracised, embarrassed, harassed, intimidated, persecuted, abused, disowned and so much tormented that he would be ashamed to go back to his village."
Giving reasons the presidency should remain in the South beyond 2007, Raimi said:"Up till now, nobody has been able to fault the unassailable historical fact that all the three geo-political zones in the northern part of the country have ruled for 39 years," adding that the South West would have ruled for 12 years in 2007, with the South-South left out of the power equation while the South East ruled for only six months.
The Forum equally advised all the political parties to field southern candidates as their presidential flagbearers, warning, "any party that fields presidential flagbearers outside the South would be campaigned against, blackmailed and worked against so that it would fail woefully in 2007."
While assessing the success of the Forum, the general secretary disclosed that it has achieved a lot, pointing out that "even the overzealous Nigerians of northern origin, who used to make provocative statements, such as: we are born to rule, return our power to us, if you want to rule, go and organise a coup, have retraced their steps in tune with the reality as clearly pointed out to them by the Southern Forum."
The Forum also agitated for creation of more states in the South most especially in the South East and South West to bring the numbers of the states to 19 so as to be at par with the North as against the present lopsided distribution.
It also made a case for the new revenue sharing formula, saying, "people are now convinced that the derivation formula of at least 25 per cent to the producing geographical area or state is a must," adding, "it can be increased to 50 per cent within the next five years."
On incessant political killings, the Forum observed that strong centre and weak states was responsible for the sad development, advising that "power should devolve from the centre to the state" in such a way that would guarantee true federalism.
Free and credible election in 2007 to guarantee smooth transition from civilian to civilian government was also the concern of the forum, which disclosed that efforts were being intensified to visit the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to advise the body and draw attention to areas where the Forum felt there should be improvement to ensure a successful 2007 general election.
The Forum therefore praised the courage of President Olusegun Obasanjo for the way he has been pursuing the anti-corruption war while commending him also for all his administration’s reform, which the forum said, has been yielding fruitful results.