Former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader Chief Edwin Clark has given his insight into why the Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum have endorsed PDP candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for president ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
According to him, Atiku is the only candidate sincere about national restructuring, and that the Elders want somebody that is physically and mentally fit enough to be able to represent Nigeria anywhere.
The Elders, comprising 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), endorsed 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 at an audience with South South leaders residing in the Federal Capital Territory at his Abuja residence.
The contingent, made up delegates from Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers, prioritised restructuring, resources control, poverty and unemployment and the economy as issues that should influence the choice of a presidential candidate in the February 16th elections.
Clark said just as President Muhammadu Buhari believes that Nigeria must ‘kill’ corruption or corruption will kill Nigeria, he believes without that restructuring the country will not survive.
“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 said.
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 of Nigerians and the ones unborn.
According to him, “Without restructuring we are an endangered species, 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 that, “Our message is that if you want to restructure Nigeria you are our man, if you don’t want to restructure then you not our 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…
“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,” Clark stated.