By Shola Oyeyipo
Leaders of Southern and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria have advised a former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to remain committed to his promise to restructure Nigeria if given the privilege to lead Nigeria.
The leaders, under the umbrella of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, in a congratulatory message to the PDP and Atiku, jointly signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-west), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-south), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-east) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), urged that the party and its candidate should not renege on the promise to restructure Nigeria.
“It is never too early to remind the presidential candidate of the clear commitment to the fundamental issue of restructuring he has made overtime and which the former chairman of the caretaker committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi adumbrated as a party agenda. It is clear today that no amount of good governance programs can get Nigeria out of the woods without a proper structure that can restore Nigeria to productivity under federalism,” the leaders said.
Also giving kudos to other aspirants on the PDP platform who have agreed to work for the success of the party, the leaders stated that “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum congratulates Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his emergence as the standard bearer of the PDP for the 2019 presidential election.
According to them, “The election of Atiku from a keenly contested primary election in what is generally seen as a free and fair process is a breath of fresh air to the democratic project in Nigeria which appeared threatened by manipulation of processes in intra-party conduct and general elections.
“We must also salute all the aspirants for walking the talk of the promise they made to us in our interface with them individually and on the floor of the convention that they would rally round the winner since they know there can only be one standard bearer emerging from the contest.
“For the PDP, they have shown that they have learnt some useful lessons by organising the best and freest primary we have seen in this season. We enjoin the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take useful tips from the PDP Convention and know that our courts will not be filled with petitions nor would there be post-election violence if elections are transparently free, fair and credible.”
The group expressed optimism that the country can look forward to a robust and healthy competition for the soul of Nigeria come February 2019.