Contrary to the Northern Elders Consultative Forum that endorsed Mr Atiku Abubakar of the PDP ahead of the 2023 elections, the Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) has thrown its weight behind Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
SaMBA’s position was made known on Saturday. The body described the position of former Speaker of House Representative Yakubu Dogara-led forum that endorsed Atiku as ‘self-serving’.
SaMBA, in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Rwang Pam Jnr, said the Dogara group ‘does not remotely or substantially represent the interest of Middlebelters’.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported endorsement of the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by a toothless Northern Leaders Consultative Forum (NLCF), coordinated by former Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who by this action has lost favour amongst his MiddleBelt family.
“We want to state categorically that the Communique by Rt. Hon. Dogara’s group is self-serving and does not remotely or substantially represent the interest of Middlebelters, who occupy approximately 300,000 Sq km of the Northern region, which is about 50%.
“Also, it is on record that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who declined to speak publicly against the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto, will not defend the interest of Middlebelters and Christians living in the north. Atiku, who had been Vice President between 1999-2007, belongs to the old order. He will not be able to restructure Nigeria to satisfy the yearning of Nigerians.
“Therefore, the endorsement of the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by this group cannot stand and will not stand.
“Their lame excuse that the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, does not have a structure is false. Progressive Nigerians are the structures and Dogara’s Middlebelters remained solidly in support of Mr Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.”
Recall that Atiku earlier condemned Deborah’s gruesome murder, but later deleted the tweet.