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Middle Belt Forum Gives Conditions to Endorse President Jonathan in 2015

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Although the peoples of the Middle Belt would endorse President Goodluck Jonathan in his re-election bid, the support is tied to many conditions.

Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, at the weekend, hinted that the region would support President Jonathan in next year’s general elections.

But the National Secretary of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. John Dara, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY in Abuja yesterday, said while President Jonathan could count on the support of the forum, the endorsement, in his words, “won’t come cheaply. There is a condition to it.”
He said: “The era when everyone take our support for granted is gone. We are making ourselves politically expensive and we have to be given our deserved respect in the polity.”

On the re- election bid of President Jonathan, he said: “In the first place, Jonathan wouldn’t have been president without our support in 2011. And at that time, he made us some promises. I can tell you we are not satisfied as a people. So before he comes and asks us to support him again, he has to tell us how far he has met our demands. We feel neglected and have been asking ourselves what did we get out of the deal? We don’t feel we have been treated well and we told the president this when we met him at the villa.”

Describing the said meeting, Dara, a former presidential aspirant, said it was a moment of soul searching between the forum and the president.

The MBF secretary said: “We told the president that the Middle Belt is the cementing factor in the nation’s unity. We are the only group in Nigeria that has never contemplated secession because we believe in Nigeria. Yet we are the most maligned! So we told him that look we supported you before but we are not satisfied. If you want us again you must meet our demands before it is too late. He still has time to meet our request.”

The demands, he said, have to do with issues of infrastructure and key appointments.
Although, he was not specific, Dara said President Jonathan is aware of the catalogue of demands and conditions.
He further added that the region might withdraw its support for Jonathan and consider to field its own candidate if the need arises.

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