By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
A former vice-president and frontline presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar yesterday said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had recorded only negative indices in every aspect of Nigeriaâ€™s economic, social and political affairs and time had come to reverse the trend.
To put the nation on the positive path of development and national cohesion, he said that all patriotic Nigerians must come together and rally round a leader with the capacity to reverse the negative indices.
Atiku stated this at Umuahia where he came â€œto conferâ€ with the leadership of Abia PDP and party delegates and other members of the party on his ambition to pick the presidential ticket of the PDP in order to save Nigeria from the APC maladministration.
â€œThere is insecurity and now we have the greatest economic decline in the history of Nigeria,â€ he lamented, adding that over 11 million Nigerians were out of jobs while businesses and commercial activities were nose-dividing.
According to the former VP, â€œit has become imperative for us to put our heads together and elect someone to reverse the negative trends before the country is completely destroyed.
Atiku who arrived in the Abia capital city after touching down at Sam Mbakwe Airport Owerri, was received by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters both at PDP secretariat where he conferred with party leaders and at Michael Okpara auditorium where he had an interactive session with party members.
He assured that he was ready and possess what it takes to lead Nigeria out of the morass the ruling APC, had dragged the country into, noting that he would renew the country and put it back on the path of progress.
The presidential aspirant told journalists in an interview that he had been an advocate of restructuring since 2004, adding that it was erroneous for anybody to think that the North was against restructuring as there was a general consensus from that part of the country.
â€œI am one of those who believe that our country should have a lean federal government because if the more power and resources were devolved to the federating units there would be more development, peace and unity in Nigeria and separatist agitations would fizzle out.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu said he was â€œthrilledâ€ at Atikuâ€™s deep understanding of Nigeriaâ€™s problems and the solutions needed to overcome them, noting that he remained optimistic that that the country would rise again.
He said that Nigeria had reached the â€œprecipiceâ€ hence â€œweâ€™ve come to a point in the life of our country where we should engage in sober reflection and take critical decisionâ€Â that would impact positively on the future of the country.
Ikpeazu noted that Atiku for his pedigree as a leader, businessman, educationist, civil servant and a patriot, added to experience â€œwould not be forgottenâ€ when the time comes to elect the presidential flag bearer of PDP.
Earlier the former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel who is the director-general of Atikuâ€™s campaign organisation, said, â€œit is raining in Nigeria now and the sun will sun againâ€ with the leaders like Atiku offering himself to serve Nigeria.
He said that the days of the APC in running the affairs of Nigeria were numbered and â€œNigerians are looking forward, counting down from years, months, weeks and days for the exit of APC.â€