•To screen candidates at ‘handshake across Nigeria summit’
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, a pan-Igbo group, Nzuko Umunna and Core Federalists with membership from all parts of Nigeria, will set a restructuring test for selected political parties’ presidential candidates at its ‘Handshake Across Nigeria’ Summit.
Expected presidential candidates at the summit are President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the main opposition party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This was disclosed in Lagos by Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Administrator of the Core Federalists, and Dr. Austin Nweze, Secretary of Nzuko Umunna, on behalf of the Handshake Across Nigeria Planning Committee.
According to a statement, the summit will provide opportunity for thought leaders and socio-cultural organisations to constructively interrogate the presidential candidates of selected political parties on their plans, programmes and policies before the elections.
They said the summit will also address issues bordering on national unity which have “recently come under palpable challenge”.
“The summit is aimed at achieving the following goals: To bring together the various thought leaders of the component regions to articulate progressive ideas that could foster national integration and development especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.
“To elicit the perspectives of experts, regional and national leaders, political parties and their presidential candidates on restructuring and their willingness to initiate processes towards achieving same,” the statement read.
Other participants expected at the summit include: Prof. Wole Soyinka, Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Ohanaeze President Nnia Nwodo, Afenifere Leader Ayo Adebanjo and PANDEF leader Edwin Clark.