The elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has disclosed why leaders of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) endorsed Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for President.
Clark, who appeared on Channels Television‘s “Sunday Politics” said the decision to back Atiku was taken because he is the only candidate vying for the number one office in the country that believes in restructuring Nigeria.
He said that the South-South Forum came to terms after thorough consultations that the salvation of Nigeria is in restructuring, noting that the region had been marginalised for so long in the country.
Clark lamented that the Niger Delta region which produced the resources that the nation feeds on does not participate in the pleasure, noting that rather the region is on a backward slide.
“We in the Niger Delta produce the resources that feed this country, but we are not participants. We are neglected, dehumanized, marginalized.Instead of moving forward, we are moving backward,” he said.
The elder statesman described restructuring as the only solution to the Nigeria’s survival and development, affirming that this informed the endorsement of a candidate that believes in the same ideology.
He said the group discussed with the about 17 presidential candidates, noting that they were all asked about their position on the issue of restructuring and Atiku’s take on the matter sufficed.
He noted that even President Muhammadu Buhari was also questioned on the same issue but his response remained that he doesn’t believe in it.
“Buhari said he does not believe in restructuring,” Clark added.
He said the talks about restructuring has been on for a long time with no way forward on how to give the minorities a sense of pride, rather taking the Niger-Deltans for second class citizens.
The elder statesman stressed that the endorsement of Atiku was a well thought out decision.
He said the PANDEF consulted with governors, traditional rulers and all stakeholders in the region, and they all agreed that restructuring is the way forward, hence, the reason they adopted a candidate who will go through with the restructuring of Nigeria.