Atiku (left) with Senate Minority
Leader George Akume during Atiku and Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim when he
declared to run for President in Abuja... yesterday.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar
threw his hat in the ring yesterday, becoming the first member of the
All Progressives Congress (APC) to announce his intention to seek the
party’s ticket to run in the February 14, 2015 presidential election.
Claiming to be the most experienced man
for the job, Atiku said at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja that
security of lives and property and fixing the economy will be on top of
his table if he gets his party’s ticket and wins the general election.
Some of the APC leaders at the event
were Senate Minority Leader George Akume, who represented members of the
APC Senate Caucus, former Yobe State Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a
former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, APC
governorship candidate in the October 11 election in Adamawa state,
Senator Jibrilla Bindow, Chairman of the APC in Adamawa State, Hon.
Binat Koji and the Director- General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation
and former Education Minister Prof. Babalola Borishade
Atiku is worried that Nigeria is more
divided today than it was during the civil war between 1967 and 1970,
with a disturbing rise in ethnic nationalism and religious bigotry as
insecurity and disharmony thrive.
He lamented that the gains recorded by
the Obasanjo administration had been eroded by the Jonathan
administration, with everything practically working backwards.
He said “good leadership is what it
takes to make good things happen”, stressing that the glaring mismatch
between the nation’s potentials and its achievements has become for many
a frustrating puzzle; for others a topic for national debate; and yet
for another group, it is doomsday lament.
Atiku lamented that while the Obasanjo
administration paid off nearly half of the nation’s foreign debt, the
Jonathan’s has continued to borrow more money when the price of oil has
consistently been above $100 per barrel since its inception.
Implementation of the budget, he said,
has continued to be on the decline since capital projects are poorly
cash backed. Some major manufacturing firms have divested from the
country while the remaining ones have continued to operate far below
installed capacity due mainly to poor infrastructure, the appointment
Atiku continued: “The environment for
doing business and our ranking in world competitive index have worsened.
Therefore, job opportunities for our teeming youths have become harder
to come by. We recall with sadness the avoidable death of job seekers
during the poorly-organised so-called Immigration Service recruitment
exam just last year. Up to this moment, no one has been held accountable
for those needless deaths.
“Resentment, disillusionment and
hopelessness are the emotions on which insecurity and disharmony thrive.
Our country is more divided today than at any other time since the
“There is a disturbing rise in ethnic
nationalism and religious bigotry. This is promoting social tension and
mutual distrust amongst the people of Nigeria. All over the country,
there are daily breaches of security resulting in loss of lives and
“Armed robbery kidnapping and human
trafficking continue to ravage many parts of the country. A bunch of
extremist insurgents are hoisting flags on large areas of our territory,
claiming to have conquered. Unspeakable horrors are now being committed
daily against our people by anti-social elements in the name of
religion and other causes.”
The APC chieftain explained that the
government has a responsibility to do everything possible to halt the
dehumanisation of Nigerians, adding that rather than do that, “what we
have is a serious deficit”. “To put it bluntly, our country seems to be
on auto pilot with no one in charge,” Atiku said.
He added: “We need a strong, dynamic,
decisive, competent and visionary leadership that can halt the current
drift of state fight corruption, create jobs, rebuild our
infrastructure, provide social services and tackle insecurity in a
decisive, robust, multi-pronged way.
“This is the change we want. And deserve
and this is the change the APC is primed to offer. And that is why I am
a proud member of the platform for change. To fix Nigeria, an APC
government will promote a new social political order, which will compel
the leadership to always balance power and authority with service and
While admitting that people have asked
him many times why he is always seeking to be President, Atiku said:
“My passion for governance is that of a man who wants to do more because
there is much to be done in fixing Nigeria. This passion continues to
grow as long as this government is not really doing the fixing.
“I have what it takes to bring people
together and turn things around for the better. Therefore, I want to
play a leading role in the trans-generational efforts to save this
country and improve the lives of our people.
“With the support of the millions of
Nigerians desirous of change and the hardwork by all of us, the APC
shall form the next government of this great nation. I have, therefore,
decided that I will, along with other respected leaders of our party
seek nomination as a candidate of the APC to contest the presidential
election of 2015.”
“I want to lead a government that will
rebuild the institutions of governance with zero tolerance for
corruption and nepotism, where hard work and dedication are adequately
rewarded,” he said.
The former Vice President extolled the
virtues of the APC, saying “at its inception in July 2013 offered great
hope for many Nigerians as a potent alternative to the ruling PDP”.
“Regardless of the loud and lavish
political propaganda, deceit, official impunity and unjust applications
of powers of patronage and sanction by the PDP administration, let me
assure you that our party remains strong and capable of fulfilling the
nation’s thirst for change,” he told his audience.
On leadership, Atiku said: “Some people
have argued for a generational shift to get leaders without much
experience. However, I believe that it is the responsibility of my
generation to offer our political shoulders to the new generation to
climb upon, improve their vision and expand their horizon.
“It is this trans-generational
collaboration and partnership that represents the best model to create
the future we desire and deserve. This is a well-tested model and the
future of this nation should never again be subjected to leadership
experimentation or learning on the job”.