Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, has thrown its weight behind Jimi Agbaje, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Lagos.
The Forum made its position known in a statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South West); Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South East); Senator Bassey Henshaw ( South South ) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).
It said the decision was based on Agbaje’s records and his struggle to restructure Nigeria in the past 20 years.
The forum maintained that it cannot support the ambition of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as his party is opposed to the restructuring of Nigeria.
The forum also warned against attack on Igbo voters in Lagos, saying an attack on one is an attack on all.
The full statement below:
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (Afenifere,Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Middle Belt Leaders Forum) in furtherance of its resolve that Nigeria must be restructured has considered the strategic importance of Lagos to the Nigerian project and makes the following observations:
1 Lagos was the Secretariat of the anti-colonial struggles where Nigerians from various nationalities worked together for our independence;
2 Nigerians from all sections worked together from the city in the valiant years of anti-military struggles that gave us the civil rule we have today;
3 The cosmopolitan mix of Lagos will continue to make it the barometer to gauge the political temperature of Nigeria .
Flowing from the above,we cannot be indifferent to who governs Lagos at this critical stage of our national life.
We have looked at the build-up to Saturday governorship elections and it is clear there are two leading candidates .
Of the two one belongs to a political party that stands on the way of restructuring Nigeria and therefore cannot be in our consideration.
The other candidate,Mr Jimi Agbaje of the People’s Democratic Party has for over 20 years been involved in the struggles to rearrange Nigeria as an Afenifere man and we have no reservations in encouraging our people to choose him as Governor of Lagos in the March 9 election.
We call on all nationalities in Lagos to come out to exercise their franchise without fear or favour .
We warn those who made it a task on February 23 to harass and intimidate Igbo people in Lagos from voting and troubling them after the elections to desist from their genocide-prone activities as we stand on the resolve of the SMBLF that “an attack against one is an attack against all”.
Lastly,we ask the security agencies not to bend to any political interest like it happened on February 23 when they watched as thugs loyal to a political party harassed Igbos and burnt their votes .
They must know that when state actors behave in such a way ,they are inviting people to embrace self-defence.
Enough is Enough !(Otoge!Ozugo!)