Nigeria: Senate leader joins race for PDP presidential candidature

Senate President Bukola Saraki

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The President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki has officially declared to run for President in the 2019 General Elections.

Saraki made the declaration on Thursday, while meeting with young Nigerians who want to run for office in 2019 under the NotTooYoungToRun Act that was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “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.’’

Intention
Saraki 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 said 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 Nigerians were crying out for succour with many people going hungry, while others die of avoidable and treatable diseases.

“Many have fallen below basic living standards, and are now among the 87 million that sealed Nigeria’s position as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty…Our young people lack opportunities. The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist. We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, the youth feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation,’’ the Senate President explained.

“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,” he said.

Revival of economy
According to him, the economy is in dire need of urgent revival in order for Nigeria to grow.

“Nigerians have become more divided than ever before between the haves and the have-nots,’’ Saraki said.

He therefore stressed that something must be done about the situation of things in every sphere of the country, saying that it was for the sake of offering solutions that he was declaring to run.

“​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.

“​My Plan for Nigeria has inclusion in all aspects of the country’s affairs as a central pillar. Every citizen has the inalienable right to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background or creed, or what part of the country they come from. No matter who you voted for or what your convictions are, government must work for you.

“Your generation does not deserve to live in the poverty capital of the world. It is no longer an issue of how we got here, but how do we get out of this situation? I promise you that I will lead the fight and employ every God-given resource available to us in turning things around. I am determined to grow Nigeria out of poverty. We will stimulate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy and to create wealth for our people, especially the youth,’’ he stated.

The Senate President said;“I want to see the youth play major roles at all levels, not only in government but also in the private sector and indeed in every area of Nigerian life. This will be a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit. Nigerian youth will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness. For youth who have ideas and capacity, we will make sure that there is funding for their ventures; and we shall build on the Made in Nigeria legislation as part of our job creation drive,” he said.

Securing Nigeria
He pledged to secure Nigeria by redesigning the security architecture and equipping security agencies, address infrastructure 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 equally 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.

“​As a former two-term Governor and currently President of the Senate by the grace of God, I believe I possess a unique blend of executive and legislative experience to push for and implement reforms that will deliver real improvements in the daily lives of our people. I know what it takes to create jobs and grow the economy. I can make the tough decisions when it matters. I will spearhead a new agenda that can transform the lives of ordinary Nigerians in real terms.

“Believe me when I say that it will not be business as usual. This will be a dynamic government of action that will pursue the growth of Nigeria with doggedness, determination and conviction. I will lead a result-driven administration. We shall set targets with clear timelines to ensure that anticipated deliverables are met. You can benchmark us and hold us accountable. In short, I assure you that I will deliver on all promises. What I envision is a new chapter in governance in this country. We will be driven by what is best for Nigerians,’’ he said.

Saraki said; “I therefore ask you and all well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with me in this noble cause. My brothers, My sisters, Let’s Grow Nigeria Together.’’
– Mercy Chukwudiebere