By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—Ahead of 2019 Presidential election, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has tasked young Nigerians of voting age to support his bid, saying his quest to vie for the highest elective office in the land was borne out of the desire to make Nigeria better.
Atiku stated this, weekend, in Abuja at an event to mark the 2018 World International Youth Day.
Represented by spokesperson, Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council, Segun Showunmi, Atiku reiterated his commitment to a one-term Presidency, restructuring of the nation, job creation, war against corruption, diversification of the nation’s revenue base, among others.
Bemoaning what he called the current leadership deficit in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential hopeful promised to draw from his “wide range of experience” to reposition Nigeria and make it the pride of the African continent.
He said: “No pain is too much, no energy is too big to dispense to give the youths the opportunity to make the needed impact in our nation building project.
“The youths need a social security blanket because it is very possible that the population of the nation will double in the next 20 years.
“Every great nation of the world, whether in Europe or Asia, derives its strength from the energies of the youths. So, Nigeria cannot be an exception.”
Atiku also urged the youths not to forget that only a leader genuinely committed to bringing them on board deserves their votes, adding that 2019 offers a rare opportunity to make their votes count.
“He is a consummate creator of jobs” Showunmi said of Atiku, stressing that “Job creation and employment opportunities would form the cardinal focus of his administration if elected.”
Also speaking at the event, a chieftain of the Middle Belt Forum and 2019 presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, John Dara, warned the electorate not to get carried away by electioneering promises of politicians.
In what appeared a veiled hit at Atiku’s pledge of restructuring, Dara tasked Nigerians to demand specifics from politicians, saying the era of general statements was gone.
“The best electioneering promises I heard was in 2014. The promises were so forcefully articulated and I was almost forced to believe their lies. Please, Nigerians, don’t be hoodwinked by their sugarcoated promises again.
“When they say they will restructure, ask them what kind of restructuring they are talking about,” he said, even as he called on the youths to imbibe a revolutionary spirit to make Nigeria rise again.
He took a swipe at those still optimistic of the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to make a positive difference, saying, “It is pathetic that some people still believe this administration is doing enough.”
Earlier in his remark, Obe Ayodele, Speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, lauded Atiku’s contributions to the growth of the nation’s economy, noting that young Nigerians have also joined the clamour for restructuring as a panacea to the nation’s quest for development.
He said: “The youths have noticed over time the failure of the present federal system being operated upon and let me quickly add that this has resulted in the precarious situation we have find ourselves where federating units can no longer sustain themselves, thus, bringing about untold hardship on Nigerians.
“We join the loud voices and forces with sincere groups and distinguished Nigerians for the clamour for a restructured Nigeria which will return the nation to true federalism and set it back to the trajectory of development as envisioned by the founding fathers.
Ayodele also applauded President Buhari for the political will to decentralize operations of the Nigerian Police Force, adding that the move will help tackle the scourge of security challenges currently ravaging some parts of the country.