The North Central Peoples Forum (NCPF) has demanded for the next President of Nigeria to come from the zone in 2023, because according to the forum, the zone represents a rallying point for unity and security since the last civil war.
This is just as the forum planned to convene a security and peace summit as part of efforts to proffer a lasting solution to insecurity in the North Central zone of the country.
These were disclosed by the publicity secretary of the NCPF, Rt. Hon. Sule Audu Dickson, and chairman, publicity sub-committee for the planned summit, Dr Tunde Olusunle, during their interaction with journalists in Abuja.
The group said that if the Presidency slot is given to the zone, the rising wave of insecurity would be checkmated, reasoning that the North Central zone was responsible and has continued to be the beacon of peace and harmony after the last civil war.
They noted that most of the leaders from the zone have served the country diligently, stressing that the democracy being enjoyed was midwifed by a son of the North Central, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
"General Ibrahim Babangida was able to move the capital of Nigeria all the way from Lagos to North Central, which is part of the North. Gowon sacrificed to bring Nigeria together as one. All these three people are from North Central and we want to ensure that their labours are not in vain.
The forum noted that the, "zone needs development and is prepared to pursue that with Federal Government, with the cooperation of our Governors irrespective of our political affiliations."
On whether the NCPF is working at cross purposes with the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the group said that despite the existence of the North Central People's Forum, its members still belong to the pan-Northern group, ACF, adding that, "in fact, we need ACF more to achieve our goal because, as a mother body, when we bring our issue to ACF and it is amplified and escalated to the federal level and the government will know this is the North speaking."
Regarding the security summit, the forum said that it would provide a platform for all stakeholders in the geopolitical zone to discuss and proffer solutions to the increasing wave of violence which has threatened the survival of the zone.
The NCPF top officials revealed that the summit would be done in collaboration with the traditional rulers, major stakeholders, youths and women, adding that former State chief Executives both military and civilians were the brains of this current move to de-escalate the ongoing killings in the zone.
They noted that it has become necessary for the Forum to speak for the zone rather than keeping quiet and watch its indigenes being killed and kidnapped on the daily basis.
"We condemn in totality the unending kidnapping and killings in Benue, Kogi, Kwara Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa and other states across the country. The North Central is the bridge between the north and south, so we can't be quiet and watch the country being thrown into crises," they said.
The forum said it has refused to call for war and break-up of the country but rather urged Nigerians to join hands in the fight against insecurity, and particularly commended the governors and security agencies in the zone for their tireless efforts in curbing insecurity even as it urged them to do more.