Saraki runs against Buhari in 2019

*Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki

After many months of speculations about his presidential ambition as well as deluge of endorsements by various persons and groups, the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has finally hinted that he would vie for the office of the president in 2019.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Saraki said he was consulting “actively” and “I believe I can make the change.”

Saraki who rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party recently (PPD) after decamping from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the party (PDP) had learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015 while the APC had yet to learn anything from its victory.

“While negotiating with the PDP, we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.

“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction,” he said.

However, he said the ruling party would stop at nothing to use security agencies for elections.

It would be recalled that Saraki’s official residence as well as that of his deputy, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, was recently barricaded by the police and the agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) respectively.

Similarly on August 7, operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) access to the national assembly in what alleged to have been an attempted coup to oust the Saraki leadership.

Reacting to the incident, Saraki said: “If a government can go and lock up an arm of government, and it’s never happened in our history, we should all be very concerned.”

He said there had been a persistent disregard for due process and a lack of neutrality for some adding that to have credible elections there must be safe elections.

“The fundamentals of whatever we are going to develop are going to be based on sound democracy, credible elections, freedom of choice of Nigerians. If we don’t have that as a foundation, then everything else cannot happen,” he said.

On petrol subsidy, the senate president said the federal government should make budgetary provision for fuel subsidy.

“If we are going to have a subsidy, we should have a budget for it. Because once we have a budget for it, the private sector can also play a role in the importation of petroleum products. And if the private sector plays a role, definitely the cost of the subsidy will go down and there will be more efficiency in the delivery of products.

“But in the environment we are in today, where it’s only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that’s doing that, it’s going to be inefficient, it’s not going to be transparent,” he said.

On the economy, he said Nigerians and investors had lost confidence in the federal government.

Saraki said the country needs to be governed by a genuinely pro-business administration that will be able to tackle recurrent security issues.

He said most of the inflows that have come in are merely hot money, adding that that is because the oil price has gone up.

“Investment in the real sector is not seen. The private sector, in my view, has probably taken a position that the confidence is not there in the government. The country requires a government that is truly pro-business and a President that sees himself as a chief marketing officer,” he added.

















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