The Pan Niger Delta Forum has condemned the anti-restructuring comments made by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
It said the Senate President’s dismissal of the position taken by 17 Southern State Governors across party lines was reprehensible.
The group also insisted in line with the principle of equity and fairness, the presidency must return to Southern Nigeria after the President, Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term in office in 2023.
PANDEF said the prospect of the south producing the next president of the country was not negotiable.
This was contained in a 14-point communique issued after a virtual meeting held on Monday.
The document which was signed by the national leader and national chairman of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark and Senator Emmanuel Essien, was made public on Tuesday.
The communique said PANDEF “maintains emphatically that the Presidency must rotate to the south in 2023, at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two tenures of eight years. It is non-negotiable, a Southerner must succeed President Buhari. Whether the Southerner would come from the South-South, South-East or South West is a different matter entirely.
“Reiterated the call on the National Assembly to accelerate the amendment of the Electoral Act, with the inclusion of provisions for electronic voting, before the 2023 general elections to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. That anything otherwise would be unacceptable.”
The PANDEF also, “Strongly condemned the irrational comments of the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, and the provocative expressions of some northern elements, against the decisions of the Southern Governors on Restructuring of the country, and the banning of open grazing.
“Deplored the worsening security situation in the country, with expanding activities of Boko Haram, audacious raids and kidnapping of innocent students by bandits, heartless activities of Fulani herders, and the recent spate of attacks on the police, and called on the Federal Government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens.”
The body also “Restated its position on the restructuring of the country and insisted that Nigeria cannot continue in the present flawed trajectory. That restructuring is now not only a vital necessity but has become expedient for the survival of Nigeria.”