Christian Bishops from Northern Central Middle Belt have called on Nigerians to support a candidate from the region for President in 2023.
The bishops noted that since 1999, nobody from any of the states in the region has produced a president.
The clergymen, who are members of the Middle Belt Bishops’ Council, said they were endorsing an industrialist and business mogul, Moses Ayom, from Benue State, to become the country’s next President.
Ayom, who recently joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), alongside his supporters in Benue State, said he will revert to them on whether or not he will vie in 2023.
Speaking on behalf of 10 other Bishops, Edward William, said: “After prayerful deliberations, we have found it necessary to pay you this historic visit. The outcome of which we believe will determine whether our country remains on the pathway of realising these enormous potentials or not.
‘We in the Middle Belt are tired of being mere passengers and onlookers 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. Like they say in pidgin, dem no carry us come. We sef na our papa house we dey.
‘Nigeria has the opportunity to correct the injustices meted out on the people of the Middle Belt. We make it 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.
‘After extensive prayers and a careful sifting of the galaxy of stars who have distinguished themselves in various fields, it is our considered conclusion that you are our best option and you tick all the boxes and possess all it takes to provide credible leadership to our great country Nigeria.
‘We have followed your trajectory in life rising from a very humble background in Ihugh, in Vandeikya Benue State to the world-renowned industrialist and global entrepreneur that you are today.
‘Like the biblical leader Moses, we have observed your tireless energy, your compassion, your philanthropy, your honesty, your expansive vision and your detribalised passion for Nigeria. Like Moses in the bible we perceive the voice of God beckoning on you from the burning bush of service to answer the clarion call by throwing in your hat into the ring of the contest for the seat of president come 2023 by the grace of God.
‘In you, we have seen an embodiment of hope for the ordinary Nigerian child that with hard work and determination, there are no borders too wide to conquer. Your success in your personal endeavours is what we want to see replicated in the affairs of our country. Suffice us to note that what we need now is a fresh and competent voice and not one of the sweet-talking politicians who have failed us over the years.
It is on the basis of these sir that we have resolved to call on you to run for the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023. Your acceptance of this divinely inspired call will assuage the ill feelings in the country and heal the unnecessary rifts currently bedevilling our country. We urge you to take this call seriously and immediately commence the processes of nationwide consultations to make this dream a reality.’
Ayom, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Woods and Africa Global Resources, in his response, said at the right time, he will make his intentions known and accept the demand of his people.
‘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,’ I said.
‘This struggle was pioneered by our forebears including the legendary JS Tarka, Solomon Lar and the others. They joined the other founding fathers in creating a country where no man is oppressed and no part is marginalised. Now is the time to make good that founding promise of nationhood.
‘While I appreciate the confidence you have expressed in me, I cannot provide the answer you require right now. You all know that the presidency of Nigeria cannot be realised by one component part alone. It requires a broad-based consensus of Nigerians working together for the common good. I will therefore seek the face of God and also consult leaders nationwide before coming to a decision.
‘I want to however assure you all that whatever the outcome of the consultations, I am prepared to give my utmost for the progress of Nigeria. Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has laid a solid foundation for recovery. Whoever comes after him must therefore build on this foundation for the greater good of our nation.’