Southern, Middle Belt leaders endorse Agbaje for Lagos governorship race

SOUTHERN and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) comprising the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, said on Wednesday that it has endorsed the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Jimi Agbaje, for Saturday’s governorship election in Lagos State.

SMBLF said the endorsement was in furtherance of its resolve that Nigeria must be restructured with Lagos being of strategic importance in the Nigerian project.

The leaders gave the endorsement in a statement by Mr Yinka Odumakin for Afenifere; Prof Chigozie Ogbu (Ohaneze); Senator Bassey Henshaw (PANDEF) and Dr Isuwa Dogo for Middle Belt.

The Forum said it cannot be indifferent with the governorship poll in Lagos because Lagos was the Secretariat of the anti-colonial struggles where Nigerians from various nationalities worked together for the country’s independence.

It observed that out of the two leading candidates contesting for Lagos gubernatorial election, one belonged to a political party that stood on the way of restructuring the country and, therefore, could not be in the Forum’s consideration.

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“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 PDP 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,” SMBLF said.

While calling on all nationalities in Lagos to come out to exercise their voting right without fear or favour, SMBLF warned those it said made it a task on February 23 to harass and intimidate Igbo people in the state from voting and troubling them after the elections to desist from their genocide-prone activities.

This was just as the Forum vowed that it as stands on the resolve that “an attack against one is an attack against all.”

The group further charged the security agencies to remain apolitical in their conduct and avoid a repeat of February 23 episode “when they watched as thugs loyal to a political party harassed Igbos and burnt their votes.”

“Lastly, we ask the security agencies not to bend to any political interest as 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!),” SMBLF said.

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