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Southern, middle belt leaders ask Tinubu to implement 2014 confab report

 

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has asked
President Bola Tinubu to implement the recommendations of the 2014 national
conference report.

 

The resolution is contained in a communique issued on
Thursday night at the end of the forum’s meeting in Abuja.

 

The SMBLF, chaired by Edwin Clark, is made up of leaders
from the middle-belt zone, as well as groups including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo,
Afenifere, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).

 

The 2014 national conference was organised by former
President Goodluck Jonathan.

The conference chaired by late Idris Kutigi, former chief
justice of Nigeria (CJN), proposed solutions to a number of the nation’s
challenges.

 

Former President Muhammadu Buhari who succeeded Jonathan did
not show interest in implementing the confab report despite persuasions.

 

‘NIGERIA’S FUTURE BLEAK WITHOUT RESTRUCTURING’

The forum said the president should take an “urgent look” at
the confab report as well as the report of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
on true federalism.

 

SMBLF said the nation’s future and democracy will remain
“bleak” without the “enthronement of “true federation”.

 

“The federal government should, as a matter of urgency and
priority, work towards the restructuring of the country and enthrone true
federalism as was originally entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions,”
the communique reads.

 

“That, without restructuring, the future of Nigeria and
democracy remain bleak and must, therefore, be carried out immediately.”

 

The forum said they will set up a “strategic committee” on
restructuring to interface with the federal government, national assembly, and
all other stakeholders.

 

SMBLF also expressed reservations over the composition of
Tinubu’s cabinet, raising concerns about the alleged marginalisation of some
sections of the country.

 

“Particularly requests that the south-east be appropriately
represented on the federal executive council, similar to other geo-political
zones,” the forum said.

 

“Insists that Nigeria must always remain a country where all
citizens and sections enjoy a full sense of belonging and equality.”

 

SMBLF urged the federal government to take “urgent steps” to
release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra
(IPOB), saying his freedom will promote peace and security in the south-east.

 

The group asked the government to address the depreciation
of the naira and declining standards of living of Nigerians.

 

The forum said it “extensively” discussed the judgment of
the supreme court on the 2023 presidential election and would issue a
“substantial” position soon.

 

SMBLF had backed Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party
(LP) in the 2023 presidential poll, to win the election.

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