Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido, is the fourth presidential aspirants to field questions on his plans from members of Southern and Middle Belt Forum, led by Chief Edwin Clark.
Eminent leaders at the meeting included Pan-Niger Delta Forum leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, Middle Belt Forum President, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, among others.
The former Jigawa State governor took questions, particularly on the restructuring of the country which the Forum is pushing for, and his plans to revive the economy against the exponential growth in population.
Earlier, Clark told Lamido that the Forum would only endorse an aspirant after everyone they had written to, including the President Muhammadu Buhari, gets the opportunity to be heard.
Nwodo explained that the Forum took it upon itself to speak with all presidential aspirants including the incumbent, because “We represent a wide degree of social cultural organisations in Nigeria.
“Our people are deeply upset by the state of our country and certain issues some of which we championed have become very critical to them as to taking decision as to who to rule this country.
“We believe that our country is at a cross road where leadership is critical to turn it around.
“We are reluctant to endorse a presidential candidate without giving him the opportunity to speak with us.
“The views that we represent are very obvious to you, we are irredeemable committed to restructuring of the federation of Nigeria knowing full well that our present structure is a great hindrance to the development economically of our country and unity. And economic growth is so critical now.
“Our questions to you are attempt for us to have a deep understanding of your policies and be able to say that this is what Sule Lamido represents.”
Before the meeting went into a closed door session, Lamido, on his part, said he is willing to undergo any pain in order to serve Nigeria.
In the words of Lamido, “My aspiration is out of pure commitment and if I get elected, my assignment will be how do we restore trust among Nigerians and then how do we restore security. Because, the truth of the matter is that our people are living in fear with the menace of Boko Haram, kidnapping and Nigeria needs the right leadership and that I will do with your support and cooperation.
“That is why I say I feel very emotional because I don’t see why should be here by this time.”
Four aspirants have so far appeared before the forum at the Asokoro, Abuja residence of the Chief Clark.
They are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; Sina Fagbenro of KOWA Party and Lamido.
Others in attendance are Air Commodore Dan Sulieman, Yinka Odumakin, Sen. Stella Omu, Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, Godknows Igali, Simon Okeke, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, Mrs. Nne Nwafor, Maryam Yinusa, among others.