Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will be a truly Nigerian president when he assumes office in 2023, says former State Chairman of Lagos PDP, Engr Adedeji Doherty.
Doherty, a former gubernatorial aspirant and Convener of Unity Freedom Group (UFG) in reaction to Atiku’s Face the Nation interview on the Arise TV on Friday, recalls that the way the former vice president dissected the various issues currently affecting the country confirms his deep knowledge of the numerous challenges confronting the nation and the readiness to address the problems.
He said that Atiku stood head above shoulders against all other candidates currently angling to rule the country after the incumbent rudderless APC government in 2023.
Doherty said: “Watching Atiku and listening to him, I felt really proud that hope is not totally lost about Nigeria after all. I say it with all sense of fulfilment that with Atiku returning the PDP government into the country, the citizens can again have a sigh of relief.”.
According to Doherty, none of the candidates currently on display by the leading political parties for the 2023 presidential election, including APC’s Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, can design appropriate actions for tackling the perennial problems of the nation’s crippling economy, escalating insecurity, dysfunctional education system, epileptic power supply, poor healthcare, oil industry mismanagement and social welfare for citizenry the way the PDP presidential candidate has enumerated them.
Doherty, in a statement issued by Mr. Muka Popoola, head of the DD Media Team, said that Atiku enumerated the different national challenges and proffered workable solutions with concise intellectual precision, tailored to pulling the country out of the current gloomy situation.
Doherty recalled a few of critical national issues that Atiku addressed during his one-hour conversation with Arise TV, top of which are his policy directions on improving the economy, education, welfare of military personnel for the security of the nation and the citizenry, while baring his mind on the APC candidate Bola Tinubu’s muslim-muslim presidential and vice president tickets.
Atiku disclosed that he had twice stood against Tinubu’s vaunting ambition to run as vice president on a muslim-muslim ticket, first in 2007 when he contested as the ACN presidential candidate and in 2015 when Tinubu again attempted to run with President Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate.
Atiku on muslim-muslim ticket said he had always objected to it because of his conviction that the diverse ethno-religious configuration of Nigeria and balancing of all interests of her nationalities should be sustained to engender national cohesion and peace among the people.
“This is my fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju and political departure. I mean the issue of muslim-muslim ticket of a thing. I opposed it and this reinforced the decision of Buhari to pick a Christian as his running mate in 2015. It is not good for Nigeria. I believe there should be a balancing of interest here”, Atiku said.
He said his experience in the running of his own private university will serve as useful template for developing a crisis-free system to deliver seamless school calendar and qualitative education for the students.
On education, Atiku said: “During the first 5 years of establishing my university, I was giving every student a new computer. It tells you how much I value education. I will make it more technologically driven in every aspect of our lives. Value for education depends on the leadership, and I guarantee that.
Atiku also spoke on the vexatious issue of nomadic cattle grazing, which has been a recurring problem under the Buhari administration.
According to Atiku, the state should be left to handle the issue of cattle grazing, saying it is not the business of the federal government. “Grazing is a state issue. I have over 1,000 cattles and they have never left the shores of Adamawa. The Federation should not have anything to do with that matter at all. It is the responsibility of the state, Atiku remarked.
He said the country would have to embrace the creation of state police as well as recruit massively into the armed forces with adequate training of personnel to firm up the country’s security to battle insurgency and other forms of violent crimes.
On security he said: “There must be massive recruitment of Nigerians into the Police Force . Also, training and retraining. They also have to be equipped with modernised equipments also . There must be State Police. We need to review that in our constitution. In more developed countries, we have four levels of Police and we need to replicate that. There should be decentralisation”.
Furthermore, on improving the security architecture of the country, Atiku said the welfare of personnel must be prioritised.
He said, “before now, we used to see accommodation and good welfare packages being provided for our security agencies. These are some of the presidential incentives I want to introduce into the Armed forces and achieve it without further delay.”
He said for the country’s economy to get better and Improve on our GDP, “we have to work on agriculture, manufacturing and industrialisation and so on and so forth to create jobs for our people”.
Atiku, who is running for the presidency of the country for the third time, eulogised Rivers State Gov. Nyesom Wike who contested with him in the race for the PDP presidential ticket describing him as an invaluable asset to Nigeria’s democracy.
He dispelled the widely held opinion that he rejected Gov. Wike from being his running mate for Delta State Gov. Okowa after losing to him in the hotly contested presidential primary. “Wike was not rejected in the party. It is only incumbent on any presidential candidate to choose his running mate. He is courageous, tenacious and I believe he has a future in the political revolution of the country, he said.