Senate President, Bukola Saraki Thursday officially declared to run for the president of Nigeria come 2019 election.
He said he will lead a result-driven administration that will set targets with clear timelines to ensure that anticipated deliverables are met, if elected president.
His declaration has put paid to the debate whether he would aspire to the position of president under his new party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Saraki made his intention known during a dialogue with Youth and Young aspirants, held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to him, he possesses a blend of executive and legislative experience being a former governor of a state in Nigeria and now, the Senate President.
Saraki said it will not be business as usual because his government will, if elected as president, run a dynamic government of action that will pursue the growth of Nigeria with doggedness, determination and conviction.
Saraki, a two-time Governor of Kwara State, said that Nigerians were crying out for succour which he was in best position to give.
Saraki has therefore joined a dozen of other aspirants on the ticket of PDP, including two-time Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who made a declaration on Wednesday.
Other aspirants are Saraki’s right-hand man and Governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Aminu Tambulwa; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Duke Lamido, Ahmed Markafi, and many bigwigs of PDP.
“Many of our children are hungry. Many people are dying of avoidable or otherwise treatable diseases.
“Many have fallen below basic living standards, and are now among the 87 million that sealed Nigeria’s position as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty. Our young people lack opportunities.
“The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist. We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, the youth feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation.”
He explained that the harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuels the state of insecurity all over the country. Saraki explained that hunger, lack of education and lack of opportunities pushed many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism.
“Many of our communities are paralysed with fear – due to incessant communal crises, kidnappings and other social ills, as well as the threat of terrorism. “We are failing abysmally to tackle the problems of today and to prepare for the future.”
The economy, he said, was broken and is in need of urgent revival in order for Nigeria to grow.
“GDP growth rate has declined. Diversification remains an illusion. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Businesses are shutting down. Jobs are being lost in record numbers, and the capital needed to jumpstart our economy is going elsewhere.”
The 55-year-old medical doctor turned politician, boasted he would heal the wounds of Nigerians who he said have been divided more than ever before.
“Nigeria is perhaps more divided now than ever before. We are increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines. Nigerians are also divided by class, a festering gulf between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’.
“The fault lines of this nation are widening to an alarming degree. We must do something fast, and we must be brave about it.”
He said he would ensure the security of lives in Nigeria and “as things stand now, no one is safe in this country.
“No one feels truly safe. We must restore the sanctity of the rule of law and strengthen democratic institutions in order to build a just, fair and equitable society for all.
“We must rebuild the trust of our people in government. We need a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century. We must pull this country back together and rebuild, block by block, with dedication and commitment.”
Saraki defected from the All Progressives Congress to the PDP, recently