By Ndubuisi Michaels
A former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has given an insight into why Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum adopted former Vice President and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar as the country’s next President.
According to him, Atiku is the only sincere person that believes in restructuring and that the elders also wanted somebody who is physically and mentally fit and is able to represent Nigeria any where.
The elders comprised of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria, Afenifere, a socio-cultural organization for the Yoruba race and Middle Belt Forum (MBF), adopted Atiku two weeks to the election at the Summit of Nigerian Leaders and Elders with the theme, Elections: The Search for Credible Free and Elections,” jointly chaired by Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Clark, and Professor Ango Abdullahi, the Convener of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF).
Clark spoke when he had audience with South South leaders residing in the Federal Capital Territory at his Abuja residence.
The delegation was made of Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers, said they have restructuring, resources control, poverty and unemployment and the economy are the things that should influence the choice of a presidential candidate in the February 16th election.
Clark said just like President Muhammadu Buhari believes if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria, he believes without restructuring the council will not survive.
He said: “Our salvation is with the restructuring of this country. President Buhari said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us but I am saying If we don’t restructure this country, this country will not survive.”
Clark who said at 92, he is enjoying the surplus time granted to him by God, reiterated that the fight was not for himself but for the next generation and the ones unborn.
According to him, “Without restructuring we are endangered specie, we are dying out.
“This country belongs to all of us and the moment we begin to feel we are not important in this country, it means we are slaves.”
He added: “Our message is that if you want to restructure Nigeria you are our man, if you don’t want to restructure then you are not a man.
“Those who said we have taken money from Atiku to take this position, fail to realize I can feed them and their households.”
Clark recalled that “we noted with satisfaction that a northern committee made up of eminent personalities and traditional rulers, called the Northern Committee on Restructuring, was set up under the chairmanship of His Excellency, RT. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto State.
“We also noted that the All Progressive Congress (APC), the Political Party at the centre equally set up a similar powerful committee on Restructuring under the chairmanship of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai at the end, the committee submitted its report.
“As a matter of fact, the reports of both committees were similar to that of the 2014 constitutional conference.
“The APC committee was hailed and congratulated by some of us, but the report died a natural death because Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, does not believe in the restructuring of this country.”
The former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, said the only issue of concern to the region is restructuring. The goose which has been laying the golden egg if allowed to starve will die.