By Banji Ayoola
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday in Yola, capital of his home state, Adamawa, declared his presidential bid under the banner of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, promising to fix the economy, revamp the nation’s security architecture, and ensure safety of lives and property if elected as Nigeria’s President.
He said that he would decisively tackle the high inflation and unemployment rates in the country, even as he decried the large scale killings in many parts of the country in recent months.
The Sun reported that Atiku, flanked by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, among other top officials of the party, said he has decided to run for the president of Nigeria to correct the grave danger of poverty, unemployment and insecurity that the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari has plunged Nigeria into.
He said, “Under Buhari’s government, Nigeria has become a divided country than it has ever been in its history.
“Nigeria now has the highest unemployment rate in the country as over ten million Nigerian youths are unemployed in the country.
“APC government has destroyed our economy, taking over Nigeria’s economy with the economy growth measured at 7℅ and brought it down to less than 2℅.
“Our country has become insecure than it has ever been in the history of the country and more people have been killed in Nigeria under the APC government than in Afghanistan when it was at war.
“The government of PDP is ready to bring back to Nigerians the era of prosperity, security and wealth.”
The national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus while speaking at the occasion said, APC has failed completely and has blood trailing it everywhere it goes.
Secondus said the Federal Government has failed to remit funds to state governments in the past two months due to failure in governance.
He described President Buhari’s government as a government that has failed to take care of its citizens.
He called on Nigerians to mobilise and vote against a government that has failed to provide jobs for Nigerian youths.
And according to Channels TV, Atiku said: “Today, we have the highest unemployment rate in the history of our country. More than 10 million youth are unemployed,” he told a gathering of supporters and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the rally.
He accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of poor leadership and worsening the nation’s economy.
Condemning the repeated killings in parts of the country, the former Vice President said Nigeria was facing its worst security challenge since it gained independence.
He, however, promised to revamp the nation’s security architecture, ensure the safety of lives and property, as well as fix the economy if elected as Nigeria’s president.
Less than 210 days to the presidential election, Atiku was confident that he and the PDP would reclaim power at the centre from President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC if he was given the party’s ticket.
“Today I have returned to reclaim what rightly belongs to the PDP,” the presidential aspirant said. “My fellow Nigerians, the government of APC has failed; it has failed to unite Nigeria.
“Today, we are more divided than any other time in the history of this country. The APC government has destroyed our economy. They took over an economic growth of seven per cent and brought it down to less than two per cent,” he claimed.
According to Reuben Abati, the former Vice President said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government would be remembered more for its bloodshed than any development it brought to citizens.
“Today, we are witnessing the most insecure atmosphere,” Atiku said of the killings largely blamed on herdsmen, bandits and militias, before promising to tackle them headlong if elected, saying: “More people died under APC than people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
He told a crowd chanting “Atiku! Atiku!” shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he would curtail inflation and unemployment rate in the country, saying President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress have displayed a common lack of capacity when it comes to the issues that matter to citizens the most.
Also according to NAN, Atiku said he would ensure Adamawa returns to PDP. He said that Adamawa was a PDP state and he would do all things possible to bring back the party to power in 2019.
Atiku who formally declared his intention to vie for the presidential seat under PDP said he was overwhelmed by the mammoth crowd that graced the occasion confirming the popularity of PDP in the state.
The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus described Atiku as a leading presidential aspirant in the party that has the capacity to dislodge APC in 2019.
He said: “PDP is a tsunami that will soon wipe out APC. We are not afraid, we are strong and coming like train to crush APC,” Secondus said.
The PDP Chairman assured all presidential aspirants level playing field and tasked APC on ensuring level playing field for all parties in the 2019 general elections.
Without mentioning names, Secondus announced the defection of some commissioners, House of Assembly members and council chairmen from APC to PDP.
Speaking on behalf PDP senators, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said Atiku has what it takes to make a difference in 2019.
Representaives of Atiku supporters in the North East, North Central, South South and South East who spoke at the occasion also endorsed him for the 2019 election.
Atiku, a former APC chieftain, announced his defection from the ruling party in November 2017 through his aide, Paul Ibe, after which he returned to the PDP.
In his quest to become the nation’s number one citizen, he contested against President Buhari and three others for the APC ticket in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
Having lost to the President in the APC primary conducted in 2014, the former Vice President reportedly collapsed his structure to support President Buhari during his campaign.
He had left the PDP to join the APC in February 2014, after he lost the presidential election of 2007 on the platform of the then Action Congress.
While he was in the PDP, he had declared his intention to run for the Presidency in 2011 but lost to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Atiku also contested for the Presidency in 1992 on the platform of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP), but later stepped down for late MKO Abiola who won the convention primary.