The electoral chances of the People’s Democratic Party Presidential flag bearer, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar received a fillip on Sunday as regional leaders and socio-cultural groups from the six regional zones of the country adopted him as their consensus candidate for the 2019 presidential elections.
Speaking under the auspices of the Summit of Nigerian Leaders and Elders, with the theme, ‘Elections: The search for credible free and fair elections,’ the group said Atiku possessed the intelligence, capability and knowledge to lead the nation.
The associations who expressed their support for the PDP candidate are the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere; Northern Elders Forum; Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum.
Leaders of the associations including Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Chief Edwin Clark, Tanko Yakassai and Dr. Bitrus Pogu, therefore, asked Nigerians to vote for the PDP Presidential candidate on February 16.
Speaking for the Igbo nation, the President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo said the nation was facing a momentous election that would determine the growth trajectory of the country in the next four years.
He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had further widened the ethnic cleavages in the country thus jeopardizing national security, citing the banditry in parts of Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and the insurgency in Borno State.
Stressing that Nigeria was at the edge of the precipice, the Igbo leader defended the choice of Atiku, explaining that he had presented how he would carry out the restructuring of the country.
He said, “Though APC (All Progressives Congress) set up a committee on restructuring chaired by Kaduna state Governor which presented their recommendations on power devolution, crude oil exploration and other great ideas, nothing has been heard about it till today.”
“There was no bill to the National Assembly to commence the process of restructuring the country. In this order, only Atiku, Bukola Saraki, Donald Duke and Kingsley Moghalu presented how they would implement their restructuring agenda. So, Ohanaeze has chosen Atiku Abubakar as its candidate,” Nwodo stated.
In his remarks, Afenifere leader, Adebanjo said the summit was only concerned about the unity of the country which he said Atiku’s election would demonstrate, arguing that the PDP Presidential candidate believed in restructuring the country having written and delivered several papers on it.
“Those of you present here would save Nigeria, so you must do everything in your power to ensure Atiku wins; A vote for Atiku is a vote for national unity. Those of you who know us in Afenifere knew that we don’t follow people blindly; Atiku believes in restructuring and he has delivered papers on it,” the Yoruba elder noted.
The President of NEF said his association had earlier announced that it would not support any northern politician that failed to perform in office, hence their opposition to Buhari whose election he said they endorsed and worked for in 2015.
Abdullahi said the forum presented a document on governance to the President shortly after he came to power, noting that the government jettisoned the blueprint.
The NEF, he said, interviewed all the presidential and came to the conclusion that Atiku was the suitable choice. “Based on our assessment, it was very clear the country requires a new leadership and that is why the Northern Elders Forum agreed that that leader is Atiku Abubakar,” the NEF Chairman announced.
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