From Fred Itua, Abuja
Bishops from the Middle Belt have called on Nigerians to support the region produce the country’s president in 2023.
The clerics, under the aegis of Middle Belt Bishops’ Council, decried the trend where since 1999, nobody had occupied Aso Rock Presidential Villa from any of the Middle Belt or North Central states.
Speaking on behalf of the bishops, Edward William, flayed the political class for restricting the contest for the post of president to candidates from the far north and south, while leaving out the Middle Belt as if they were second or third rate citizens.
He said a Middle Belt president in 2023 was the only way to show that the zone, which he said had held the country since independence in 1960, was also a part of Nigeria.
“We in the Middle Belt are tired of being mere passengers and on lookers in this vehicle called Nigeria. The impression is being created that political power at the highest echelon is a ping pong game between the far north and the south, while the Middle Belt is a mere net to be used in scoring points.
“We as spiritual fathers and watchers in the Middle Belt have, therefore, decided it is time for us to also stake our claims in this project called Nigeria. Now is the time to be assured that we are equal stakeholders and not second or third rate citizens in Nigeria. Nigeria has the opportunity to correct the injustices meted out on the people of the Middle Belt. We make bold to say the Middle Belt is the thread that knits Nigeria together. Now is the time to make us feel integral in the affairs of our fatherland.”
The clerics called on industrialist and business mogul, Moses Ayom from Benue State, to consider vying for the presidency in 2023.
Ayom, who recently joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside his supporters in Benue State said:“I share your sentiments on the fate of the people of the Middle Belt in Nigeria. I am a firm believer in justice, equity and fair play appreciation. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. The Middle Belt should never be anyone’s political cannon folder. We have a right to the dividends of citizenship like every other group in Nigeria. We cannot remain second class citizens,” Ayom said.