Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), now enjoys the support of all the six (6) geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
The pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere; the Northern Elders Forum; Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum; adopted Atiku as their consensus candidate for the forthcoming February 16 presidential election.
The position of the zones came during the Summit of Nigerian Leaders and Elders, with the theme, ‘Election: The search for credible, free and fair elections’.
The leaders from the six zones noted that Atiku possesses the capability and required knowledge to lead the nation.
Consequently, the leaders of the zones, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Chief Edwin Clark, Tanko Yakassai and Dr. Bitrus Pogu, asked Nigerians to vote for Atiku in the forthcoming presidential poll.
The President of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Nwodo, said that Nigeria is currently faced with momentous election that would determine the growth of the country in the next four (4) years.
According to Nwodo, President Buhari had widened the ethnic cleavages in the country and consequently jeopardized our national security.
“Though the APC (All Progressives Congress) set up a committee on restructuring chaired by Kaduna State Governor which presented their recommendations, nothing has been heard about it till today.
“There was no bill to the National Assembly to commence the process of restructuring the country. In this order, Atiku, Bukola Saraki, Donald Duke and Kingsley Moghalu presented how they would implement their restructuring agenda. So, Ohanaeze has chosen Atiku Abubakar as its candidate.”
Chief Adebanjo, the leader of Afenifere, in his own statement noted that the summit was concerned about the unity of the country, saying that the PDP presidential candidate believed in restructuring the country.
“Those of you present here will save Nigeria, so you must do everything in your power to ensure that Atiku wins; a vote for Atiku is a vote for national unity. In Afenifere, we don’t follow people blindly; Atiku believes in restructuring and he has delivered papers on it,” Adebanjo said.
Also, the President of the Northern Elder Forum, Ango Abdullahi, said that his association had earlier announced that it would not support any northern politician that failed to perform in office.
He further noted that the association presented a document to President Buhari shortly after he emerged into power, but the blueprint was however abandoned.
“Based on our assessment, it is very clear the country requires a new leadership and that is why the Northern Elders Forum agreed that the leader is Atiku Abubakar,” the NEF chairman said.
The leader of the Middle Belt Forum, Pogu, said that the middle belters believe that Atiku possesses the capacity to lead Nigeria.
The leader of the Ijaw nation, Edwin Clark, said that the Niger Delta region which produces the nation’s wealth, was being neglected, adding that the cost of fuel was higher in the region than other parts of the country.
“I have watched and seen various political campaigns and I have seen the President Nigeria deserves. I am satisfied by our choice. I join Ohanaeze, Afenifere and the rest of us that Nigeria should have a capable, intelligent President; a President with personality. So, on behalf of the Niger Delta, Atiku is our presidential candidate,” he added.
Consequently, the geopolitical zones in a statement read by Yinka Odumakin adopted Atiku as the consensus candidate for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria “as he has demonstrated the deep understanding of the critical need of the country at this time and has the capacity to proffer clear solutions in that respect.”
Atiku promises to deliver
Mr. Atiku Abubakar who expressed shock over his endorsement, promised that he would not disappoint Nigerians if he is elected president.
“Is that (adoption) true? Then I’m happy and grateful to the organisations and groups that have done this,” Atiku said in his reaction.
“Nigeria is a great country that we have to work together to get it working again.
“I’m assuring everyone that I will be the President for everyone and I will not disappoint this confidence. I will not let them down. Tell them that I am grateful,” he added.