• We have the highest record of unemployment, highest inflation, highest level of insecurity since 1999
  • Makarfi: I am not averse to Atiku becoming the party’s candidate, just as he is not also averse to me

John Shiklam in Kaduna

Former Vice President and presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, said Saturday in Kaduna that Nigeria cannot make progress under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that for the country to move forward, there must be a change of leadership in 2019. Atiku stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who is also a PDP presidential aspirant, at his residence in Kaduna. The former vice president said Nigeria was currently “at a crossroads” and having its worst experience in virtually all spheres of its existence since the return to democracy in 1999.

“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,” Atiku told journalists after his meeting with Makarfi.

“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 rates that discourage foreign investment. We have the highest level of insecurity since 1999,” he added.

He said Nigeria under Buhari was more divided than any other time in its history.
“People are more angry, people are poorer more than at any time. Nigeria is rated as the headquarters of poverty in the world,” the former vice president stated.

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, before going into a private meeting with Makarfi, Atiku explained that he was in Kaduna on a campaign, stressing that the visit is 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 Makarfi.

He commended Makarfi for steering the affairs of PDP democratically and overseeing 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 live clearly indicate that you have a lot of potential to offer to this country that cannot be taken away from you,” Atiku stated.

He added, “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, Atiku said he will support anyone that picked the ticket.
“I am a democrat 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 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,” Makarfi said. “I am not averse to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar becoming the party’s candidate, just like he is not also averse to me becoming the party’s candidate. It is a family issue, we are talking and we will keep on talking,” he added.