The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded election, Atiku Abubakar, has stressed that the struggle to restructure Nigeria must continue as the coexistence of the country depends on it.
The former Vice President who met with Southern and Middle Belt leaders in Abuja on Wednesday, said Nigerians should not be afraid of restructuring as the country had been restructured in the past.
Atiku also reaffirmed his rejection of the the outcome of the presidential election and his decision to challenge it in the courts.
He expressed confidence that the courts would do justice and restore his stolen mandate.
Atiku thanked the elders for the support they give him before, during and after the election.
He said: “It’s my pleasure to be with you today and I want to use the opportunity to thank you for your support before, during and after the elections.
“As I had announced earlier, I have rejected the result of the election. As announced earlier, we have filed our petition before the tribunal or the courts because we believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from the Nigerian people. And I believe that the courts will do justice in this case.
“We still have confidence in our courts and we believe justice will be done.
“But the most important thing here is that between ourselves, we have been able to galvanize the people of this country to think alike and in unity.
“Of course, we have also come to realize and accept that the basis of our unity, our coexistence lies fundamentally on restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and have the opportunity to exploit their human and materiel resources for the development of the citizens while remaining in the same country.
“I therefore believe this struggle is a struggle that we must continue together and we will achieve it and I believe it is also achievable.
“I strongly commit myself to that. And Nigerians don’t have anything to fear or dread about restructuring of this country. After all, we started as a restructured federation and everybody felt at home with that arrangement.
“Of course, over the years, we all know how the military has virtually brought a unitary federation.
“Therefore, I want to thank you very much indeed for your support. The results we have achieved, particularly myself and the party I represent would not have been possible without your support across the country.
“Once again, I thank you very much indeed and look forward to continued relationship until our objectives are achieved. “
In his remark, leader of the group, Chief Edwin Clark, said it will be hard to have a Nigeria without restructuring.
He expressed the determination of the group to continue to support Atiku as the promoter of restructuring, saying they will stick with him until the objective is achieved.
Clark said: “Your Excellency, our president in waiting, because the struggle continues, on behalf of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders and Elders and the entire peopie of these areas, we welcome you to our gathering.
“It shows that we are still together. We want to assure you that we will always be with you.
“We are happy that you are in court, you have already filed your papers, it’s not a question of saying am going to court. We are behind you. And by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for.
“When I said that our struggle continues, what did I mean? That the restructuring of Nigeria is irreversible. No matter whatever method you use, we will continue to be with the promoter of restructuring of Nigeria
“Nigeria has to be protected. We want restructuring. No restructuring, it will be difficult to have Nigeria.”