Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says his enduring persistence in contesting for the office of the president of Nigeria is borne out of his passion to rekindle the Nigerian dream.
Abubakar stated this while making his official declaration for the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja.
He said his dream for Nigeria was that there should not be any limit to what a Nigerian wanted to achieve if he was willing to work for it.
He said: “I have contested for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria a couple of times in the past.
“My enduring persistence is borne out of my passion to rekindle the Nigerian dream that I was privileged to live.
“Nigeria is a land of possibility.
“There is no challenging background that will make any Nigerian give up.
“I am a living witness to what is possible in Nigeria.”
Abubakar, however, said that the dream was not possible without credible and visionary leadership, adding: “That is what I want to offer to Nigerians.”
He said that presently Nigeria was in dire need of visionary leadership, adding that the fundamental principles and purpose as a nation had never been challenged as it was today.
He said: “I offer myself to rescue the sinking ship. Under my captainship, this ship will sail to a brighter course by the grace of God.”
He described the 2023 election as a referendum to decide whether Nigerians want greatness or continuous destruction.
He said: “It is a choice between two paths: the path of unity and progress or the path of division and backwardness.
“We need a new kind of leadership that will steer us to a positive path. In 2023, we want a President who has ideas on how to fix Nigeria. We want a president who understands, who inspires and is empathetic.
“As the election is fast approaching, we should not be distracted from the devastating conditions we are in now.”
Abubakar advised Nigerians to be united and fight their common enemies: the lack of unity, insecurity, poverty, inflation, and unemployment.
Abubakar said if elected, under his presidency, he would focus on five key areas: Unity of Nigeria, Security, Economy, Education and devolving more resources and powers to the federating units.
Describing himself as the unifier coming to bond the broken union of Nigeria, Abubakar said that his administration if elected would operate an open door for dialogue to hear the grieving voices of all Nigerians.
He said: “Under my presidency, there will be a new Nigeria, where everybody has an equal voice and is heard.
“Throughout my life, I have never looked at Nigerians as divided people.
“In my eyes, all Nigerians are the same.
“When I see you, I don’t see Yoruba or Hausa or Igbo or Fulani or a northerner or southerner; when I see you, I only see a Nigerian, and I expect the best from you.
“All Nigerians are equal and should be seen and treated equally.
“There is no unity without justice and fairness.
“That is why I will deliver leadership of justice and fairness.”
Abubakar also pledged to increase the welfare and number of all security forces as well as use of modern technology and intelligence to combat insecurity.
He added that if elected, he would create alternative sources of foreign exchange supply to Nigeria and reduce importation to increase the value of the Naira.
He said: “We will provide access to mechanized farming systems and develop the agricultural value chain.
“We must diversify our foreign exchange sources through exports of processed agricultural products.”
Abubakar also promised to reduce government borrowing, saying too much borrowing comes at the detriment of future growth.
He said: “We will operate a liberal economy that allows small businesses to grow through lower taxes and charges for small businesses and low-income earners.
“We will encourage the expansion of the private sector to spur economic growth.”
Speaking on the current fuel crisis in the country, Abubakar said that Nigerians could not afford to pay high petrol prices.
He said: “This is why we must ensure sufficient refining capacities within Nigeria.
“If we do that, petrol will be cheaper because it is locally produced.
“In the meantime, we will protect Nigerians from higher petrol prices through a new comprehensive energy policy.
“To provide an adequate and affordable electricity supply for every Nigerian, we will ensure sufficient investment in the sector.
“We will leverage renewable energies to power homes and commercial centers.”
Abubakar added that his administration would be guided by a consolidated and timely policy document by working together with Nigerians to update and review my existing policy document.
He also said that his style of governance would deliver inclusive governance, while urging every well-meaning Nigerian to join him in rescuing Nigeria.
He said: “My administration is going to be a transition of power from the senior generation to a younger generation.
“We will cut down the cost of governance because leaders must sacrifice first for the benefit of the people.
“We will set our fiscal budget within a realisable and realistic level so that we can reduce government debts.
“We will support and actively engage the private sector in building infrastructure and creating more job opportunities.”
In his remark, Governor Umar Fintiri of Adamawa State described Abubakar as a special treasure to Nigeria.
Fintiri said that Abubakar was probably the most experienced person in the race at the moment not only in the PDP but in the country.
He said perhaps what had delayed his victory was for a special purpose like this moment, like 2023 when Nigeria would be led by a person of his capacity, acumen and pedigree.
He called on all to support Abubakar for president not only because he was from Adamawa State, but because he was the right man for the task ahead.
He said: “He is a good mentor and a leader and the best candidate that can defeat the APC and win the election for our great Party.”
Also speaking at the occasion, a former Minister of Women Affairs, Inna Ciroma, said that at this moment what Nigeria needed was a person who has capability to lead, not zoning.
Ciroma said that Abubakar did not only have capacity to rule Nigeria, he was known for his special attention to matters that concerned women.
She called on the Nigeria women to support PDP and Abubakar in the 2023 presidential election.
Former Lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaiye, said that Abubakar was the solution to major challenges to Nigeria problem.
Melaiye said that the PDP needed experienced person like Abubakar to win 2023 election and to unify Nigeria, not zoning at the moment.
“Abubakar is the only man that the Ibo, Ijaw and Okun people will be comfortable with to unify the country,” Melaiye said.