By Deji Elumoye in AbujaThe Senate President and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bukola Saraki, has flaunted his capacity to turn the nation around if elected president in February 2019.
Saraki, who spoke in Abuja during an interactive session with South and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, said with the myriad of problems facing Nigeria now “I have the capacity to turn this country around”.
He told the Forum led by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, that: “If it’s about the work, I know and I am very confident that I can do it even if it means starting tomorrow.
“I know what needs to be done to put this country on the right path. What we have gone through is because we have not had that visionary and competent leadership.”
According to him, Nigerians must work as a team to get those who have the ability and are also able to unite this country.
He said: “We need somebody who will be a team player. Somebody who will bring inclusiveness and somebody that understand politics. If you don’t understand the politics between the executive and legislature, there will always be rancour. If we do not want democracy, then we can do dictatorship.
“The constitution makes provisions for consultations, give and take. So there are some you will win and some, you will not win. When you look at the bigger picture and you win on some that is why we practise democracy.”
He emphasised that Nigeria deserves a president that will be fair to all and not a sectional leader.
According to him, “What kind of president do we want? Unity must start from the top. We must be looking at a president that must be for all: North, South, Minorities, Christians, Muslims; for them to be able to believe that the president represents all of these.
“Insensitivity to our diversity is what is driving this suspicion and pulling us apart. So we can’t achieve anything unless we bring everybody back together.
“As such, it must be somebody that can represent their conscience; somebody that any part of this country can say: I think he represents Nigeria. I think he would be fair to me whether I am Christian or Muslim; I think he would be fair to me whether I am a Northerner or Southerner.”
Saraki added that every nation deserves a leader that will be ready to serve the country round the clock and not on part time basis.
“Today, to be the president of a country is a 24-hour job if you want to do it properly. It’s a job that is tasking, especially in an environment where you want to reform the country.
“You need youthfulness, you need energy and you need vibrancy. Most importantly, you need to be bold and courageous to be able to take critical decisions that need to be taken and be focused too,” he said.
He assured the Forum of his commitment towards the restructuring of the nation, adding that it will be his priority once elected president.
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, in his welcome address, said Saraki will be the third presidential aspirant to be hosted by the Forum after Atiku Abubakar and Sule Lamido, all of the PDP.
He stated that the Forum’s leaders will hear out all presidential aspirants before taking a position on who to support for president next year.