It was held in Awka, Anambra State, on the 4th January 2022; being convened by Youths Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI), a frontline NGO, in collaboration with Nigeria’s foremost ethnic nationalities, including Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and Igbo World Assembly (IWA).
Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and Igbo World Assembly (IWA) jointly held a crucial ethnopolitical dialogue on “2023 presidential transition”, organized by YOUTHS OFF THE STREET INITIATIVE (YOTSI), and held in Awka, Anambra State, on the 4th January 2022; where they reached critical decisions on key national issues relating to the 2023 presidential transition and generated a joint communiqué, which read as follows;
- They demanded that the country must be restructured before the 2023 general elections, to guarantee true federalism and also define our corporate existence as a pragmatic federal republic
- They demanded the unconditional zoning of the 2023 presidency to the Southern region, hinged on the existing agreement of “rotational presidency”, which since 1999, has been the order of power rotation, only allowing both the northern and southern regions, to hold and rotate power for either a single tenure of four years or double tenure of eight years, laying strong emphasis on the need for justice, equity and fairness, since the Buhari-led current northern presidency of straight-eight years will terminate in 2023. Therefore, the next Nigeria’s president in 2023 must come from the southern region without further negotiations.
(3.) They launched two great political movements created out of the desire and efforts to compulsorily enforce north-to-south power rotation in 2023 and to also provide a unified national grassroots platform for mobilizing youths and other eligible voters for ballot revolution. The two political movements include the “Power-Shift Movement” and the “Forty Million Ballots Movement”.
3. They demanded that the Igbo Nationalities who are amongst the major ethnic and have not occupied that exalted position should come out from their shell, build bridges and declare their interest as others have pledged unalloyed support.
4. They all agreed to pursue Nigeria’s continued existence as one united Nigeria but demanded the urgent restructuring of the 1999 constitution which is lopsided and does not guarantee true federalism
5. They demanded and unequivocally call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act urgently, as a matter of national interest, in signing into law, the Electoral Bill, as presented to him by the National Assembly, noting that his “wild goose chase” approach is not healthy for our electoral process. They referenced the Petroleum Act Bill, which he accepted, even though he observed some amendments were necessary but effected the changes through a letter to the National Assembly. Same way, president Buhari is expected to sign the Electoral Bill into Law and then effect the necessary changes.
- They rejected all forms of land grabbing, banditry killing of host communities and destruction of crops by herders. They frown against these land grabbers and urge the government to stop the menace.
- They urged youth voters who constitute over 60% of Nigeria’s voting strength to mobilize against bad Governance through their ballots or PVCs by recruiting themselves as members of the “Forty Million Ballots Movement”.
Jointly signed by:
Dr Pogu Birus, Chairman, Middle Belt Forum (MBF)
Chief Sola Ebiseni, Secretary-General, Afenifere
Comrade Kenneth Robinson, National Publicity Secretary, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF)
Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze, Chairman, Igbo World Assembly (IWA)
Comrade Kennedy Iyere, President/CEO, Youths Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI)
Dr Tanko Yunusa, Spokesperson, National Consultative Front (NCF)