2019 Elections: Saraki for President …promises inclusive govt
Written by Uthy on August 31, 2018
By Kayode Lawal (Abuja), Ahmed ‘Lateef, Madiu Yusuf and Kamaldeen Abdullahi
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki yesterday officially declared to run for President of the country, promising to ensure an all-inclusive government if elected.
Saraki made the declaration while meeting with young Nigerians who want to run for offices in 2019 under the NotTooYoungToRun Act that was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
If he emerges as the presidential candidate of the PDP, Saraki would be slugging it out with President Muhammadu Buhari, who had openly indicated interest to run for second term in office under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The senate president said his declaration was informed by his firm conviction that he possesses what is required to secure inclusive growth for the country.
Saraki, who stated this at a dialogue with youth and young aspirants held yesterday at Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, said he joined the race in response to the call of the teeming youth, who prevailed on him to run for the apex office.
He also said that his decision to seek the highest office in the country was in view of the numerous challenges being faced by the country and by Nigerians.
He noted that it was unthinkable that Nigeria, with its young population, with over 70 per cent of its people under the age of 40, still could not take advantage of the youthful population which is envied by the Western World.
He lamented that all over the country Nigerians were crying out for succour with many people going hungry, while others die of avoidable and treatable diseases.
He pledged to secure Nigeria by redesigning the security architecture and equipping security agencies, address infrastructural deficits in power and transportation, defend the constitutional rights of all Nigerians and uphold the principle of the rule of law at all times.
He assured the youths that he would not be selective in fighting corruption adding that he would ensure that all institutions of government would be allowed to function without undue interference.
“I offer leadership driven by empathy. Where leaders are responsive to the citizens. Where they know that government cares. We will not be indifferent or turn a blind eye to the real concerns of our people. Every single Nigerian life matters.”
Decrying the state of affairs, the senate president said Nigeria needs a new generation of competent leaders with capability to rise to the occasion of contemporary challenges.
He said Nigerians are confronted with the choice of making a radical departure from the old ways or keep things as they are in the forthcoming polls.
Saraki noted that the country had been increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines with fault lines widening to an alarming degree.
He expressed determination to grow the country out of poverty by stimulating the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy, thus creating wealth for people, especially the youth.
“The harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuels the state of insecurity all over the country. Hunger, lack of education and lack of opportunities push many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism. Many of our communities are paralysed with fear – due to incessant communal crises, kidnappings and other social ills, as well as the threat of terrorism. We are failing abysmally to tackle the problems of today and to prepare for the future.
“Our economy is broken and is in need of urgent revival in order for Nigeria to grow. GDP growth rate has declined. Diversification remains an illusion. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Businesses are shutting down. Jobs are being lost in record numbers, and the capital needed to jumpstart our economy is going elsewhere.
“Nigeria is perhaps more divided now than ever before. We are increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines. Nigerians are also divided by class, a festering gulf between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’. The fault lines of this nation are widening to an alarming degree. We must do something fast, and we must be brave about it.
“We must ensure the security of lives in Nigeria. As things stand now, no one is safe in this country. No one feels truly safe. We must restore the sanctity of the rule of law and strengthen democratic institutions in order to build a just, fair and equitable society for all. We must rebuild the trust of our people in government. We need a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century. We must pull this country back together and rebuild, block by block, with dedication and commitment.
“The choice we face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are, or make a radical departure from the old ways. To find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past. To fix the problems or keep compounding them.
“It is with all these in mind, and taking account of the challenges that I have outlined, that I have decided to answer the call of teeming youth who have asked me to run for President. Accordingly, I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming General Elections in 2019 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.