Southern and Middle Belt Leader’s Forum (SMBLF), has flayed Northern Governors Forum for their support for Social Media Bill and opposition to the EndSARS protests.
In a communique, signed by the 32 leaders including Edwin Clark, Bassey Henshaw, Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, Yinka Odumakin, Ohanaeze President, John Nwodo, Guy Ikokwu, former Anambra State governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Middle Belt Forum Chairman, Pogu Bitrus, the forum said it is unacceptable the way the NGF painted the protesters in dark colours.
“An emergency meeting of Southern and Middle Belt leaders was held on Wednesday, November 4, in Abuja on some urgent business of national importance, the central one being the meeting of northern states’ governors with emirs, chiefs and Arewa leaders in topmost positions in the current regime held on Monday, November 2.
“The meeting, coming aftermath of the EndSARS protest when we should be putting heads together nationally to seek solutions to our problems, is most distractive, divisive and made Nigeria widely scattered as against the ‘indivisibility’ and other non-sequiturs that were regurgitated at the end of it.
“Where would this country be heading if we also decide to call our own meeting with our governors and top officials in the Federal Government? We do not see any responsibility displayed by those who have been serially accused of sectionalising our national government to allow such insensibility, insensitivity and total subversion of the unity of the country that only exists on the lips of those behind the meeting.
“It not also lost on us that the communique of the meeting was making space for National Executive Council nominations to a sectional initiative as the utmost level of disregard to the rest of the country whom they are treating as serfs when we are supposed to be joint and equal stakeholders in project Nigeria.
“We wonder the quality of humanity of any group meeting at this period of mourning not to have a word of compassion for those that were murdered by state forces and hired thugs during the protests. We reject the indecent approach to paint the peaceful protesters in dark colours.
“They made their demands clear and were orderly before the violent Nigerian state deployed armed soldiers and thugs in 911 lorries against them.
“It is wickedness to place ‘our power’ above every other national interest by playing the ‘regime change’ label on the peaceful protesters who were not armed like Boko Haram that the regime is chasing about with negotiations in the same spirit it has been cuddling and pampering killer herdsmen.
“We do not see the thoughtfulness in the celebration of northern youths not participating in EndSARS protests as if they did not also loot like their deprived young people in other areas of the country which shows they are suffering the same thing.
“We foresaw all that is happening now, which is why we have been calling for restructuring as a multi-ethic country like Nigeria can only be run along federal lines. We were not oblivious of the damage the military did to this country by using fiat to create local government areas with headquarters in the villages of top shots mostly from the North. Kano State today has 44 local governments and Bayelsa has eight. When you want to recruit 10 policemen per council, Bayelsa will have 80 and Kano 44O.
“The inequality multiplies everywhere and this is why we insist on restructuring of the country now before we go for any national election.
“We make it abundantly clear to our colleagues from the core North that yesterday ended last night and never shall this country be run the same old way. No section of the country can play any supremacist role again as if the rest of us are fools.
“It is either we live together as equals under the same rules of engagement or we explore other options as dignified human beings. We deeply mourn with all families who lost their loved ones in the crisis we just went through and pray to God to comfort them. May those who wantonly destroyed lives pay grievously for their deeds,” they said in the communique.