- …Promises to tackle challenges facing Nigeria
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, thursday made public his intention to run for president in the 2019 general election.
Saraki, who defected from All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last month, said he would run on the platform of PDP.
The country’s number three citizen, who made the declaration in Abuja at a dialogue with youths and young aspirants of the PDP, said he has decided to throw his hat in the ring based on pressure from the teeming Nigerian youths “who have asked me to run for president.”
He enumerated several problems bedeviling Nigeria presently to include unemployment, hunger, insecurity, lack of medical care, lack of education, lack of economic growth, terrorism, kidnapping, communal and farmers/herders clashes.
Saraki expreseed his readiness to tackle headlong all the aforementioned challenges if elected president in February 2019.
According to him, this is an urgent task that requires the concerted efforts “of each and every one of us.”
He also painted a gory picture of an average Nigerian citizen, saying: “If we look around today, what do we see? What is the condition of our citizens? Where are we as a country? How are we perceived locally and internationally? Why are we not making the expected progress? Why are we not growing? There is no time to waste. The time is now, to come together to stimulate growth in Nigeria, especially in the national economy.”
To Saraki, “the choice we face in the forthcoming elections is either to keep things as they are or make a radical departure from the old ways. Let’s find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past or fix the problems or keep compounding them.”
The Senate president went further to justify why he is running as president stating that “it is with all these in mind, and taking account of the challenges that I have outlined, that I have decided to answer the call of Nigerian youths who have asked me to run for president.
“Accordingly, I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming general election in 2019 on the platform of the PDP. I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and its people.”
Saraki promised to run an all-inclusive government devoid of tribalism or religious creed.
According to him, “My plan for Nigeria has inclusion in all aspects of the country’s affairs as the central pillar. Every citizen has the inalienable right to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background or creed or what part of the country they come from. No matter who you vote for or what your convictions are, government must work for you.”
In wooing the youths, he said their generation “does not deserve to live in the poverty ‘capital of the world’.
“It is no longer an issue of how we got here, but how do we get out of this situation? I promise you that I will lead the fight and employ every God-given resource available to us in turning things around. I am determined to grow Nigeria out of poverty. We will stimulate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy and to create wealth for our people, especially the youths.”
He emphasised that his government would actively involve the youths from the local government to the federal level.
“I want to see the youths play major roles at all levels, not only in government, but also in the private sector and indeed in every area of Nigerian life. This will be a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit. Nigerian youths will be given all the opportunities to realise their full potential within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.”
“A decision that mischief makers are still losing sleep over. This is just one of their ploys to spoil his welcome party to our great party.
“He is, however, concerned with settling into his new party and contributing his quota towards deepening democracy and the party structure in Delta State and the Niger Delta region.
“Instead of relying on hearsays that are capable of misleading the public, we urge journalists to always make verification before pushing stories or news reports to the public,” he stated.