Former Vice President and a frontline Presidential aspirant on the platform of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that ” Nigeria is currently on the crossroads”.
Atiku who stated this during a courtesy visit to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu Friday in Umuahia Abia State, regretted that ” Nigeria had never been so divided along tribal and religious lines than now”.
The former Vice President who was in Abia to canvass support for his presidential ambition said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is a total disaster.
He lamented the harsh economic situation in Nigeria under the All Progressive Congress ( APC) administration, saying it is a big error.
Atiku said that under three years, Buhari’s APC administration had destroyed the gains recorded under PDP’s 16 year- rule.
His words: ” Our country is right now on the cross roads. We have never been so divided as we are , not even during the civil war. We have recorded the worst economic decline in our national life.
“Over 11 million people have lost their jobs. While other countries are moving forward we are going backward.
” We need a leadership that can reverse this negative growth. Under PDP Nigeria got debt relief but now we are heavily indebted. All that PDP achieved during its 16-year rule has been reversed and destroyed by Buhari in less than three years.
” There is serious insecurity in the country now than any time in the history of Nigeria, and we cannot continue this way. This is why I am presenting myself to save Nigeria from this bad situation, and make it a country where we can once again be proud of”.
Atiku who has remained an advocate of restructuring used the occasion to present to his host, a compendium of his presentations and position on restructuring which he tabulated in a book form.
The document entitled ” Restructuring: Pathway to unity and development”, he said, would be his blue print and template in fixing Nigeria’s challenges if given the opportunity.
He said restructuring remained the way out of the multi- faceted problems facing the country, arguing that if more power is devolved to the regions or states, the centre would be less attractive.
” If we give more powers to the federating units we will have a lean presidency and it will be less competitive”, he added.
Atiku, therefore, solicited the blessing and support of Gov. Ikpeazu and Abia delegates for his ambition.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of his Campaign Organisation and former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, said Atiku had the capacity, knowledge and capability to lead Nigeria out of the woods.
He said the recent formation of coalition by 39 political parties with a deal to present a joint presidential candidate at the 2019 poll was a step in the right direction, and expressed faith Atiku would be the preferred candidate of the coalition.
” It is Atiku that has such capacity and national network to defeat Buhari in 2019. He has capacity in virtually all the sectors of the economy including politics where he has proved to be an enigma.”
The former Governor also decried the continued killings in the country by herdsmen, warning that it is capable of plunging Nigeria into an endless turmoil that might ultimately consume it if unchecked.
” The killings and deaths now in Nigeria are more than we witnessed during the civil war. Nigerians are tired of APC and its hardship. It is raining heavily now but we pray that the sun will shine again.
” We have searched and we have seen a man who has always shared the problems of Nigeria. That man is Atiku who has been consistent on restructuring the country , and he has all it takes to lead Nigeria out of the wilderness.”
Responding, Gov. Ikpeazu thanked the former Vice President and his entourage for finding time to come to Abia to canvass support for his ambition.
Ikpeazu agreed with his guests that the “Nigeria is now on the precipice” and needs urgent surgery to avoid imminent implosion.
” We have come to a point where , as a country we need to ask some critical questions, do sober reflection , and take decisions that have serious impacts on our future.
” Nigeria is at the precipice . We need to ask questions to know what ought to be done. If we fail now to take the right steps we may never have the chance again, and history will judge us.
” Previously we were doing trial and error but now we must get it right. The decision to pick the right candidate is a serious one and not a tea party. We need to put on our thinking caps.
” I know that at the time decisions will be made Atiku’s pedigree as a leader, educationist, business man, contributions in politics as a patriotic Nigeria will all come to bear. I am thrilled that Atiku has the understanding of the peculiar challenges of Nigeria.”
Ikpeazu, however, noted that God would ultimately decide who would be the consensus candidate of the coalition parties.
He assured Atiku of his continued prayer for the success of his ambition, adding however, that the state remains open for other aspirants to come and share their vision and blueprint.
Ikpeazu expressed hope that God would rescue Nigeria from its current political quagmire and economic doldrums caused by APC’s misrule.