Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The Senate President and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday regretted the happenings in Aso rock, the seat of power in Nigeria since 2015 with a verdict that cabal and not President Muhammadu Buhari was in charge of the most populous black country in the world.
He recalled that Nigerians voted the President with the hope that Buhari would effect positive change in the country, but lamented that the people have been shortchanged by the cabal who continue to hold sway in power.
Saraki who was accompanied by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, Senator Abiodun Olujinmi, Captain Idris Wada, Dr. Doyin Okupe and Muhammed Wakil, made the remarks while addressing PDP delegates in Oyo State during a meeting where he solicited for their votes ahead of the October presidential primary of the major opposition party in the country.
He said the few influential world presidents who had visited Nigeria under the present administration did not stay beyond a few hours because they were convinced that their host did not understand their mission or contributed to discussion as expected.
He also said that Nigeria lacked the progress it deserved because voting patterns were determined by religion, language and ethnicity instead of capacity and merit.
Saraki said, “Over the years, we have made mistakes in electing people based on sentiment. Yes, it is time we correct it. We will correct it because we are capable. Over the years, we have voted for people based on religion, the language they speak and where they came from in Nigeria. We need people who have the courage, capacity, ability and determination.
“I have shown over the years, particularly in the recent years that one has the opportunity of leadership, that I have the capacity to take Nigeria forward. The countries that have done well did so not by bringing leaders by chance but because they looked for capable leaders. It is time to pick such leader.
“The president we have now does not understand leadership. We have endured him for more than three years but it is the same thing. Nigerians voted for him (Buhari) but cabal is ruling the country. That is not what democracy means. This time, let us look for who can do it. In Nigeria today, we do not have unity. What we need in the present world is digital president.
“When your president sits with world presidents, he should be able to understand what they are saying. That is why presidents who have visited the country did not stay more than a few hours. But when they know that their host understands them, they will stay longer and explore investment opportunities in Nigeria.”
Saraki said he considered Oyo State his home because his paternal grandmother was from Iseyin area of the state. He added that the state’s priorities would be protected if he became the president.
“I am happy to be back at home. This is my home, this is my state. By the boundaries that we share between Oyo and Kwara States, compared to other aspirants, it is just a stone throw to travel from Oyo to Kwara State, and they will know that their next president is just next door. On my father side, my grandmother came from Iseyin here in Oyo State; the same town where the PDP chairman in Oyo State comes from, so I know that I have captured a delegate with me. I am sure that many aspirants have come but now that your own has come home, there is nothing wrong in telling them your son has come so that Oyo can have someone that will protect its priority,” he said.