By John Shiklam in Kaduna
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is a presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said on Saturday that Nigeria’s leadership must change in 2019 for the country to make progress.
Speaking when he paid a visit to Senator Ahmed Makarfi, also a PDP presidential aspirant, at his residence in Kaduna, he said Nigeria was currently “at a cross road”.
“You can definitely acknowledge that since the return of democracy, we have not had a worst period than now, whether in terms of economy, whether in terms of unity, whether in terms of security, this is the worst time since 1999,” he said.
“The misadministration of the APC government is very evident, we have the highest record of unemployment since 1999, we have the highest inflation, we have multiple exchange rate that discourages foreign investment. We have the highest level of insecurity since 1999,” Abubakar said in an interview with journalists shortly after the courtesy visit.
According to him, Nigeria has never been so divided as it is under the Buhari administration.
“People are more angry, people are poorer more than at anytime. Nigeria is rated as the headquarters of poverty in the world.”
According to him: “This is unthinkable for a country that is endowed with human and natural resources like ours, just because of lack of clear headed leadership and direction, this is where we find ourselves.
“So, it is obvious that we just have to change the leadership of this country”.
Speaking earlier during the visit, Abubakar explained that he was in Kaduna on a campaign, stressing that the visit was significant and special.
“I came for campaign train and I feel it is absolutely necessary being a colleague and former National Caretaker Chairman of the PDP who brought the current party structures and leadership into existence, we should pay you this courtesy visit and first of all to put it on record and also commend your leadership,” he said.
He commended Makarfi for steering the affairs of PDP in a democratic process that saw to the emergence of the current leadership of the party.
“ I will continue to hold you in very high regards and esteem. The fact that you were able to bring our party back to life, clearly indicates that you have a lot of potential to offer to this country that cannot be taken away from you”.
Abubakar said: Fortunately, having belonged to the same political set that ushered in our democracy in 1999, I believe that since we are still active and healthy, we still have a responsibility to make sure that this democratic process which we brought back to this country should be sustained in a manner that brings about progress, development and unity of this country…
“So I think and I believe that if we work together, we will return this country to the path of peace, progress and development.”
Commenting on his chances in the presidential primaries, Abubakar said he would support anyone that picks the ticket.
“I am a democract and I have always worked with anyone that emerged, so I am ready to work with anyone that emerges through credible elections,” he said.
In his remarks, Makarfi recalled their various struggles in the PDP with Atiku, adding that he has nothing to lose if Atiku picks the party’s presidential ticket.
“I am ready to work with any of the fellow aspirants that emerges, that is why I even said that because I am willing to work with some of them, I won’t even step into their states.
“I am not aversed to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar becoming the party’s candidate, just like he is not also aversed to me becoming the party’s candidate, it is a family issue, we are talking and we will keep on talking” he said.
The two presidential aspirants also held a closed-door meeting.