Atiku Commences Move to Clinch APC Ticket, Lobbies Party Leaders from Bauchi, FCT
Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar has commenced moves to woo delegates to back his presidential ambition by holding consultations with the party leaders from Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking at two separate meetings with the APC leaders from Bauchi State and the FCT Thursday in Abuja, Atiku said the country risks surrendering to a one-party state, with its
According to him, “the arrogance” of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has reached a point where the country can no longer bear it.
He warned that a mandate to the PDP in 2015 would be a vote for a single-party dictatorship.
He said: “Here is a warning to all Nigerians, a ruling party that barred its members from running against the president in the primaries this year will, if care is not taken, bar the entire citizens of the country from challenging him four years down the road.”
The former vice-president, who said he is the only candidate with a plan to reduce the enormous powers of the federation through a systematic devolution of power to the states, warned that “four more years of mandate will drive the death knell on democracy in the country. One party dictatorship is bad and we must change.”
Atiku in his address to the delegates said the powers of the federal government needed to be reduced if effective governance is to return to Nigeria.
This, he argued, would also reduce the cut-throat competition for power at the centre.
Responding to the litany of cries over insecurity and the lack of development in the North-east geopolitical zone, Atiku agreed that the region was the country’s least in terms of development, and that on this, even the United Nations agencies are in agreement.
Speaking to the FCT delegates, Atiku said the country was currently faced with “bad resources management, insecurity, ethnic and religious disharmony and most importantly, we have poverty imposed on us. We have no reason to be poor because we have endowments in human and material resources. “Sadly,” he noted, “we have failed to utilise them due to poor leadership,”
Atiku went spiritual by quoting Proverbs, chapter 29, verse 2, which says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
“This,” he said, “applies to both faiths. We cannot continue like this.”
The former vice-president said opportunity was now in the air, given the failure of the ruling PDP, which is aided by the healthy development of the coming together of the entire opposition elements in the country.
“For the first time under this democracy, Nigerians have the chance and opportunity to ensure that a change is effected,” he said.
Atiku also promised to remove indigeneship requirements throughout the federation if he is elected as president.
“Why should you be a stranger in a part of the country where you are born? Why should anyone be discriminated against?” he queried.
The former vice-president also played up his experience over the years in governance and business, calling himself and “a true democrat, not a born-again democrat; a born democrat who has never agreed to serve in past military regimes. I always prepare myself for what I want to do. Modern governance is more than bureaucracy. That’s why I have never made an attempt for public office without a policy document.”
Atiku then dismissed co-contenders for the APC ticket as lacking in business experience.
“You cannot run a complex and a modern economy as we have without business experience. They don’t even know how to create jobs. So, I believe I am more prepared than anyone of them. In terms of uniting this country and defending this country, I also believe I stand out. You don’t have to be a soldier to defend your country. It takes a will.”
He recalled having told foreign correspondents recently that he would have defeated Boko Haram in six months.
He said when he proposed that he would absorb the Civilian JTF into the army, the Nigerian government lapped up the idea without acknowledging that it came from him.
On the issue of jobs, for which he has been speaking, Atiku said: “You have to deregulate the economy. Open it up. Empower the private sector, small, medium enterprises getting access to capital. Give incentives to large-scale employers, they will create the jobs.”
He therefore asked for their support “so that together we can bring about the desired change. I am a national politician. In politics, I don’t know religion or ethnicity. I don’t know North or South. I know only one Nigeria”.
The FCT delegation promised him 90 per cent of their delegates while their Bauchi counterparts pledged 100 per cent support.
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