Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) yesterday vowed to ensure the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, emerges the next president of Nigeria in the February 25 presidential election.
The forum stated this while affirming Obi as their candidate for the 2023 presidential election after an extraordinary meeting in Abuja on the state of the nation and the forthcoming elections.
The leaders urged Nigerians to join them in realising the dream of making Obi the next president, warning sternly those trying to thwart the 2023 elections that they will rise like one-man in defense of the ballot box.
The meeting was attended by Chief Edwin Clark, leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum; Pa Ayo Adebanjo of Afenifere; Dr. Bittus Pogu, president of the Middle Belt Forum, and John Nwodo, representing Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Others at the meeting were Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; former Anambra State governor, Chief Chukwuwemeka Eziefe; spokesman of the Obi-Datti campaign team, Dele Farotimi, and spokesman of PANDEF, Ken Robinson.
Leader of SMFL, Chief Edwin Clark, addressed the gathering via zoom.
Reading the communique at the end of the meeting, the immediate past president general of Ohaneze Ndigbo and former minister of Information, John Nwodo, who spoke on behalf of SIMBLF, assured that the forum will promote the objectives in their various constituencies and ensure that it is realised for the betterment of Nigeria.
Nwodo said all members of the various groups support the aspiration of Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed as president and vice presidential candidates of the Labour Party.
The communique reads in part: “That we give our unalloyed vote of thanks to our father and leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for his boldness, his sagacity, his tenacity and his relentlessness in pursuing the aims and aspirations of this organisation.
“That we warn all those who want to change the hands of the clock of Nigeria by doing anything that will derail a peaceful transition to the next civilian government of this country that we shall rise like one-man in defense of the ballot box and that Nigerians must go to vote.
“This we have resolved today and we enjoin other Nigerians who do not belong to our organization to join us in realizing this for the betterment of Nigeria. Peter Obi is your son and he is the rock upon which Nigeria will stand.”
On his part, Pa Adebanjo said, “The battle is on. We are in a war and our opponents are not sleeping at all. They have underrated us in the past but they are now seeing the stuff we are made of now.
“They are making all sorts of devices to ensure that power remains in a particular part of the country. That is why they are not even supporting the candidate of their own party.
“You are fighting for your freedom. Don’t joke with your freedom. Don’t be deceived. They are not going to organise any election. We are fighting to get out of slavery and bondage.
“We are all living in denial. Even among the Igbo. The impunity is too much and you don’t want those who are dissatisfied to leave the country.
“Obi’s phenomenon is not just about the Labour Party. LP is now like NADECO. Obi is leading the crusade to get us out of bondage of serious oppression.
“They don’t want to leave the office. I’m saying it openly here. It is not a joke that they want to scuttle the election. You must be prepared for the post-election.
“We will give it what it takes. It is either bend or break. If Obi does not win, forget a country called Nigeria. If we lose this election, there will be no opportunity for a non-Christian, a non-Northerner to be president again.
“Right now, they are planning to vote for Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, by jettisoning their candidate in the Labour Party.
“They want another northerner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. How they want to do it, I don’t know but we must all be prepared for a war.
“Have it at the back of your mind that Obi must be declared president. Anything contrary to this, we should forget about Nigeria”.