By Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clarke, has shed more light on the recent endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by Southern and Northern Leaders Forum for the February 16 poll.
Clarke, who spoke weekend while playing host in Abuja to South South Leaders resident in FCT led by the former Inspector-General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro, said the leaders drawn from all the six geo-political zones of the country settled for Atiku because of his firm belief to restructure the country.
He stated that of all the presidential candidates, Atiku stood out as one that had expressed his commitment to restructure the nation once elected into office.
According to him, it took the elders and leaders of thought four weeks to examine the programmes of the 17 presidential aspirants across party lines that appeared before them late last year.
“By the time we listened to the aspirants who were each given two hours to tell Nigerians through us what they will do to address the myriad of problems facing the country, it was clear at the end of the day that Atiku has the wherewithal to address those issues and will address the main issue of restructuring the country in line with the principle of true federalism.
“In adopting Atiku, each region was represented by 15 members while some even had more people. Since then we have been following his campaign and he is really a popular man”, the former Federal Information Commissioner said.
Clarke allayed the fears that restructuring will destroy the country saying “restructuring will not break the country and is not against the North or South but it will rather strengthen the country by bringing out the strengths of each region/state.”
He warned that “if we don’t restructure this country cannot survive and without restructuring South South will die a natural death”.
The elder statesman therefore urged the South South people to “wake up and know what you want now by going all out to vote for Atiku who will restructure this country”.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of South South Board of Trustees, Sir Mike Okiro, expressed concern about economy, insecurity, poverty and unemployment problems bedevilling the country.
He said time was ripe now for Nigeria to elect a leader that will address these problems and proffer required solution to them.
Okiro added that “the major concern now is how to get food on the table of the people of South South as the goose that laid the golden egg is made to starve.”