Presidential Aspirant and ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday met with leaders of the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum in Abuja.
He is the first presidential aspirant to meet with the leaders of the regional group.
The meeting is holding in the house of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, at his Asokoro residence.
The former Vice President said he decided to meet with the group because he believed that the problems plaguing the country needed to be tackled urgently.
He said it was the responsibility of the leaders to meet and discuss the challenges confronting Nigeria and find solutions to them.
“Nigeria is beset with a lot of problems. In fact problems that are so grave that they are likely, if we don’t move fast enough to curtail them, will bring about another national crisis.
“It is our responsibilities as leaders to engage ourselves in meaningful discourse so that together, we can resolve the problems confronting this country.
“Particularly, I will like to mention a few key areas where we need to pay attention. One is the structure of our country. Is it working? Is it what we want? At least it has been there for a number of decades. Maybe since the military incursion into our politics since 1966.
“Is our economy working well? What of other sectors of our public life? Security. Are we secured? Is law and order protecting majority of people in this country? And of course we have the social sector to contend with. Those are problems as far as our educational, health systems are concerned. Even our infrastructural deficits. Count them.
“And I think without interacting, exchanging views, and agreeing on how best we can resolve these problems whether as socio-cultural leaders or political leaders or leaders of the business community, I don’t think we will be able to resolve these problems,” Atiku stated.
The President, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo, John Nwodo, who spoke on behalf of the forum, said the group has decided to invite presidential aspirants on their plans to move the country forward.
He said: “We have decided to talk with him since he has expressed desire to rule this country, to contest the presidency. We wanted to rub minds with him, to know his views so that by the time we finish this interactions we will be able to assure ourselves which one of them we think have the capacity to reflect our aspiration and rejig our country and bring it to where many will like it to be.
“We want to see the people who want to represent us. We want to hear from them, we want to be convinced of their capacity to represent us.”
Those present at the meeting include: Chief Ayo Adebanjo, John Nwodo, Yinka Odumakin, Amb. Godknows Igali.