By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The elders and opinion leaders in the south-south and middle Belt geo-political regions appear to have told Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice president and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in clear cut terms that the only way he could get their support to prosecute his case at the Election Petition Tribunal was to agree to the restructuring of the country .
Atiku had met the south-south and middle Belt elders and leaders of thought at Abuja to solicit their support as he seeks redress in the Election Petition Tribunal over the results of the February 23, election , which had Produced President Muhammadu Buhari, who contested under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the winner. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has also confirmed Buhari, the APC Candidate, as the President elect by giving him the certificate of Return. The PDP Candidate believes he was robbed of victory by the APC Presidential Candidate with the active connivance of INEC officials and security agencies personnel.
The PDP Candidate may have spoken the language that the forum would understand at a closed door meeting where he reiterated his commitment to the restructuring of the country. He was said to to have told the elders from the two regions that he had filed a petition before the Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, appointed three-man election petition Tribunal to argue out his case that he was rigged out by the APC, INEC and the Security agencies personnel at the Presidential election. ”This is a mandate that was stolen from the Nigerian people”, he had.
Atiku, the Turaki of Adamawa believes that with the support of the south-south and middle Belt elders and leaders of thought he will get Justice at the Tribunal. In a voice laden with emotion, he was said to have told the elders ”don’t despair”, insisting that he was confident that he will get justice at the Tribunal.
Edwin Clark, a former Federal Commissioner of Information under then General Yakubu Gowon, rtd, Administration, may have spoken the mind of the people of the two regions agitating for the restructuring of the country that the only to win their support was for him to support the restructuring of the country . Clark was said to have made it clear to him that restructuring is the only out for the ”unity of the country”.
”We will support the promoters of restructuring of the country”, Clark had said , insisting that, ”no restructuring , it will be difficult to have Nigeria”. The forum may have sent a signal to the PDP Candidate that if Buhari decides on his own to throw his behind the restructuring of the country tomorrow, they will not hesitate to support his Administration.
But the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have made clear to Nigerians that he would never be in support for calls for a ”holistic New look at Nigeria’s political structure”, noting that it is not a priority to his Administration.
He believes that ”Nigeria’s problem has more to do with process than restructuring”, an indication that Clark and his fellow elders and leaders thought in the south-south and the middle may have to burry thought about the restructuring of Nigeria for now and collaborate with the government on how to make the Presidential system of government currently been practiced in the country to be less permeable to extravagance , waste and corruption infested ”.
Political watchers posit that that the cost of governance in Nigeria and running of public services lead to extravagance, waste and corruption which requires a change for the better. It is not surprising why Buhari would never support the restructuring of Nigeria that would throw up new set of economic exploiters in the regions. The President may have made it clear to those that cares to listen that his Administration is ever receptive to ideas which would improve the nation’s ” peace and stability”.
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