The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday met behind closed doors with leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum in Abuja.
The meeting, which was held at the residence of a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, also had the leaders of Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in attendance.
The leaders included Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Yinka Odumakin, Chief Femi Okurounmu and Chief John Nwodo.
Atiku said the purpose of the visit was to solicit the forum’s support for his efforts to reclaim his stolen mandate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the winner of the February 23 presidential election.
But Atiku, who rejected the results as announced, had filed a petition at a tribunal, seeking his declaration as the winner
The former vice-president thanked members of the forum for their support before, during and after the elections.
He said he visited in order to inform them that he had filed a petition to reclaim his stolen mandate.
He said, “We believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from Nigerians. We believe justice will be done. We still have confidence in our courts of law.
“The most important thing is that we have been able to galvanise the people of this country to think alike and act alike in unity.”
Atiku assured them that if he was able to reclaim his mandate at the tribunal, he would embark on restructuring so that every region could have a sense of belonging.
“We have also come to realise and accept that the basis of our unity and coexistence lies fundamentally in restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and also have the opportunity to exploit their human and material resources for the development of the citizens.
“I believe this is a struggle we must continue together until we achieve it. I believe it is achievable.
“Nigerians have nothing to fear about restructuring of this country. We know how the military brought a unitary federation,” he added.
Responding, Clark promised that the forum would continue to support Atiku until he reclaimed his mandate.
He said, “The struggle continues. It shows we are still together and we want to assure you we will always be.
“We are happy that you are in court. We are behind you and by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for.
“Our struggle continues, the restructuring of Nigeria is irreversible. No matter whatever the method used, we will continue to be with the promoter of restructuring until the end of the battle. Nigeria has to be federated.
“We want restructuring. Without restructuring, it will be difficult to have Nigeria together.”