By Dapo Akinrefon
PDP convention : THE Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has called on PDP delegates who will elect the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to choose a flag-bearer who will embark on restructuring the country if elected as President.
The forum also urged the PDP delegates to vote for a candidate who has the interest of the country at heart
In a statement by Chief E.K Clark (South south), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South West), Chief John Nwodo (South East) and Dr Bitrus Pogu (Middle Belt) , the leaders urged the PDP delegates to put Nigeria first in their consideration during the PDP convention in Port Harcourt
The statement reads: “As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates converge on PortHarcourt to pick their flag-bearer for the 2019 Presidential election,the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders want them to know the onerous responsibility before them at this crucial stage in the history of our country .
“Nigeria today lies prostrate in the intensive care unit of afflicted countries as it careers dangerously to the edge of the precipice. Most indices of measuring growth and development are in the negative for us just as our polity remains divided more than at any other time in our history because of the activities of a dispersing leadership at a time we need a unifier.
“The problem of a leadership not suited for a plural society like Nigeria is further accentuated by the crises of the anti-progress and development unitary structure that has put the country at a precarious situation and turned us a worry to the world as we could see the global community running up and down over election in only Osun State recently.
“It is also quite dispiriting that there are so many theatres of conflict in our country today with their attendant needless loss of lives with no leader with the required will to use the law to protect citizens from the activities of those unleashing terror on fellow citizens.
“It is against this backdrop that we appeal to delegates to ensure that the candidate who will emerge from their convention is one that will fully understand what the job of a leader is when a country is in the type of crisis Nigeria is enmeshed in at the moment.
“Nigeria needs urgently a leader who knows that the first urgent business that confronts Nigeria from May next year is to restructure the country in order to return it to the practise of Federalism so every corner of Nigeria can become productive and the various nationalities can live in peace and harmony in a conducive atmosphere productivity will provide.
“We like the delegates to know that people from our constituencies will only vote for a candidate who genuinely believes in restructuring and not anyone just using it for political campaign. Our Forum interfaced with most of these aspirants over three weeks and identified those who fully understand what restructuring means and who are committed to it .
“We must also emphasize that we will support a Presidential candidate who will move away from the template of running our country for sectional gambit at the expense of others as inclusive governance must be the watchword of the next leader of our country
“Such a visionary should kick-start the rebuilding of our fallen walls and bring healing to the land by summoning ALL to the table of brotherhood and give a sense of belonging to the constituent units of the country with devolution of powers to the constituent units a priority so all sections of Nigeria can develop at their pace with the strong pulling up the weak and not disabling everyone to be at the level of the weak .
“The delegates should put Nigeria first in their consideration and realize that restructuring will benefit every section of Nigeria as it will bring out the best from all corners .They should know that it is this commonality that has made us to forge a common front with the Northern Elders Forum under the aegis of Nigerian Leaders and Elders Forum and we are all on the same page on the need to restructure Nigeria.
“Nigeria urgently cries for a leader with capacity and who can function effectively both locally and internationally with a sound understanding of the world around us .
“This is the urgent task that confronts the delegates as we remind them not to see their task as just playing the conventional politics
“We have put this task on the table of the opposition because the government in power has over the last three years oscillated between dismissing the call for restructuring and and the smokescreen of the El-Rufai panel on restructuring whose report is now in the archives where the President promised to dump the 2014 National Conference Report handed over to him. To expect it to restructure Nigeria is akin to expect a marble statue to shed tears .
“Our present is precarious and future so uncertain if we should continue on the ruinous path we are in now .This is the imperative of providing an alternative that can inspire the land and restore hope on the horizon.
“We pray for God’s guidance at this critical juncture so our country can be saved and Nigeria can step forward to fulfil its manifest destiny in the comity of nations once again.