February 02, (THEWILL) – The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), on Thursday, endorsed the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, as its preferred candidate for the February 25 election.
The decision was announced on Thursday, at the end of an extraordinary meeting of the forum in Abuja.
The SMBLF, chaired by Edwin Clark, is made up of leaders from the middle-belt area, as well as groups including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
Chief Clark attended the meeting virtually, while those physically present include Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader of Afenifere; Oba Oladipo Olaitan, Deputy Leader, of Afenifere; Pogu Bittus, Chairman, Middle-Belt Forum; Cornelius Adebayo, ex-Kwara governor; Okey Emuchay, Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; John Nnia Nwodo, Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele, Dame Betty Ibeni, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Simon Okeke, Denzel Kentebe, Sola Ebiseni, Secretary General, Afenirere; Ibe Nwosu, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Dele Farotimi, Chief Uga Dem, Benjamin Akaka, Elizabeth Jibrin, Val Ozigbo, Charlie Oputa (Charlie Boy), among
A communique after the meeting, read by a former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said the leaders will work hard in their various constituencies to ensure that they give the LP flag bearer massive support at the election for the sake of a better Nigeria.
The Communique reads: “We give our unalloyed vote of thanks to our father and leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for his boldness, sagacity, tenacity and relentlessness in pursuing the aims and aspirations of this organization.
“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 defence 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 organisation to join us in realising this for the betterment of Nigeria.
“Peter Obi is your Son and he is the rock upon which Nigeria will stand.”
Pa Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere) said, “The battle is on. We are in a war and our opponents are not sleeping at all. They’ve 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’s 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 all living in denials. 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 Labour Party. LP is now like NADECO. Obi Is leading the crusade to get us out of the bondage of serious oppression. They don’t want to leave office. I’m saying it openly here. It is not a joke that they want to scuttle the election. You must be prepared for 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 war.
“Have it at the back of your mind that Obi must be declared president. Anything contrary to this, we should forget about Nigeria.”
Dele Farotimi, an activist said: “We know when it’s our turn, and we do not require anybody to tell us when it’s our turn. When a man presumes to arrogate to himself what belongs to all members, it is not emi lokan, it is awa lokan, it is the turn of all of us, whether you are part of PANDEF, a Yoruba man, a Hausa man, a Fulani or a kanuri for that matter, it is either Nigeria belongs to all of us or it doesn’t belong anybody.
“This time around, it is a thing of joy and great pride, we have been coordinating to support a man that we can actually stand behind, follow and say yes, this is our own and not one of those thieves masquerading as saints.”