Nigeria:The Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has declared his presidential ambition under the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Saraki made this public at a dialogue with Youth and Young aspirants held at Sheraton hotel under the auspices of the “Not Too Young To Run ” movement and in the presence of the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus in Abuja.
Saraki in his speech said that, “Up and down our country today, Nigerians are crying out for succour. 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 further explained that the harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuels the state of insecurity all over the country.
In his words, “Hunger, lack of education and lack of opportunities push 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 Senate President said the choice we face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are, or make a radical departure from the old ways. To find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past. To fix the problems or keep compounding them.
He promised to see the youth play major roles at all levels, not only in government but also in the private sector and indeed in every area of Nigerian life.
According to him, “This will be a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit. Nigerian youth will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.
“For youth who have ideas and capacity, we will make sure that there is funding for their ventures; and we shall build on the Made in Nigeria legislation as part of our job creation drive”.
On this premise, he said, “My Plan for Nigeria has inclusion in all aspects of the country’s affairs as a central pillar. Every citizen has the inalienable right to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background or creed, or what part of the country they come from. No matter who you voted for or what your convictions are, government must work for you.
“Your generation does not deserve to live in the poverty capital of the world. It is no longer an issue of how we got here, but how do we get out of this situation? I promise you that I will lead the fight and employ every God-given resource available to us in turning things around.
“I am determined to grow Nigeria out of poverty. We will stimulate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy and to create wealth for our people, especially the youth.
”My plan is to secure Nigeria by redesigning our national security architecture, while adequately equipping our security agencies to fulfil their primary role of protecting lives and property.
“I will address our infrastructural deficit through aggressive financing initiatives including mutually beneficial PPP arrangements, regular floating of bonds and other financial instruments, which will ensure stable, adequate and reliable funding to see to the completion of core projects especially road, rail and power.
“My plan is to protect all Nigerians and defend their constitutional rights and freedoms. I will stand for and uphold at all times the principle of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democratic governance.
“Ours will not be a selective fight against corruption. The emphasis will be on strengthening institutions, with a particular focus on deterrence. We cannot afford to compromise our institutions with proxy wars against perceived political opponents. We see the fight against corruption as crucial to Nigeria’s economic development.
“We want to offer leadership driven by empathy. Where leaders are responsive to the citizens. Where they know that government cares. We will not be indifferent or turn a blind eye to the real concerns of our people. Every single Nigerian life matters.”