2019 presidency: Afenifere, Ohanaeze, PANDEF hints at support for Atiku
Influential southern groups, Afenifere, Ohanaeze N’digbo and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, have announced that they would support the candidate that has been most vocal about restructuring of the country.
Former vice president and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar appears to have been very vocal on the need to restructure the country.
Atiku has over the years insisted that restructuring was what Nigeria needed to attain its full potentials.
Recently, he and vice president, Yemi Osinbajo fired salvo at each other over the issue.
Speaking, Afenifere’s spokesperson,Yinka Odumakin, lamented that all efforts to engage the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on the need to restructure the country since 2015 had been futile.
He told Punch: “Atiku has been very strong on restructuring and he has also picked a running mate (Peter Obi) who has also expressed very strong opinion about the issue of restructuring. Obi is from a zone where the people are clamouring for restructuring.
“We have reached out to the Presidency through some of the governors who are close to him (Buhari) from the South-West.
“We drafted a list of leaders across Nigeria that the President should summon across Nigeria to discuss the issue of restructuring. Many months after, the governors did not get across to us probably because they met a brick wall.
“There is a consensus among leaders of the South-West, South-East, South-South, the Middle Belt and Arewa. We have said we will wait for the consensus candidate that would be produced by the CUPP to enable us to make our choice among the candidates.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Chuks Ibegbu, said besides restructuring, the region will support a candidate who is ready to address the marginalisation of the Igbo and also implement the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.
He said, “Ohanaeze is not a political party but we are going to support and identify with anyone that will restructure Nigeria. Any of the presidential candidates that is genuinely and sincerely ready to restructure Nigeria will have our votes.
“Besides restructuring, there are other demands. Our youths are agitating for Biafra and that is due to the marginalisation of the Igbos over the years. We are politically, economically and infrastructurally marginalised and we want these issues addressed effectively.”
Also, the Pan Niger Delta Forum said it would support any candidate who showed strong commitment to the restructuring of the country.
National Secretary of the group, Dr. Alfred Mulade, said, “PANDEF met with 16 presidential aspirants before the parties concluded their primaries.
“What we put on the table is that we will support any candidate that has restructuring as the backbone of his administration.”