Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar friday openly wept for the country while receiving expression of interest and nomination forms bought for him by his supporters.
Thereafter, he called on his teeming supporters to go the extra mile and mobilise support for him to ensure he secures the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election.
The expression of interest and nomination forms were handed to the former vice president by Atiku Support Group, a movement galvanising support for his presidential ambition.
Atiku said that friday’s event was significant and historic because it was the first time in his political career that young men and women in the country would come together without his knowledge and consent to contribute their hard earned money to buy him expression of interest and nomination forms. According to him, “It is almost three decades of my political career this year. But today has also turned out to be one of the most emotional days in those three decades of my political career. I have tried to present myself as a candidate for the office of the president in a number of elections. The only time I succeeded of being on the ballot was in 2007.”
He further added: “In 2007, I was on the ballot not because I believe I was going to win but because I wanted to prove a constitutional issue so that all Nigerians can avail themselves with the constitutional protection, and I succeeded at the Supreme Court. And that is why today, no Nigerian can be stopped from contesting an election unless he has been convicted by a court of law.”
Atiku noted that addressing the challenges confronting the country was a possible task because the country has a lot of young people who have got the talents, education, and experience to turn the country around.
He further added: “But putting together such talented young Nigerians requires leadership and it is that leadership we have not been fortunate enough to have on a consistent basis so that this country can take its rightful position in Africa and indeed the world.
“You could have seen one of the people who spoke; the lady who spoke virtually succeeded in getting me to weep. This is because she aptly described the challenges every Nigerian is facing in this country today and she believed honestly and sincerely from the bottom of her heart that I could be an instrument of addressing those challenges.
“So, for such a woman to believe that I have got those leadership qualities and including those of you who have brought out your monies to buy these forms is one of the most serious challenges I have ever faced in my political career.
“It is not that it is not doable, it is doable and I think together we can do it. So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to make an undertaking and I hope we get that opportunity to work together so that this undertaking of mine can be achieved because I alone cannot achieve that undertaking.”
Atiku expressed the hope that his endeavours would result in success in the nomination and subsequently in the general election, saying the “undertaking I am going to give you is that it is our job together, and I promised you we are going to do it together.”
Atiku recalled that he was brought into politics as a young man by the late Musa Yar’dua, who he said urged them to break the regional siege that every part of the county had been subjected to.