By Dayo Johnson, James Ogunnaike & Gabriel Olawale
LAGOS—FORMER Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday, declared that Nigeria needs a courageous leader, who would be ready to tackle the security and economic challenges facing the country.
This came as former Vice President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has caused unprecedented disunity among the diverse elements of the country.
But the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, weekend, said that the trust of Nigerians in politicians is fading gradually, since President Muhammadu Buhari, who was expected to be a messiah, disappointed them.
Nigeria needs courageous leader to overcome challenges —Saraki
Saraki, who addressed delegates of the PDP in Ogun State, after a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said only a president that is up and running can check the worsening state of insecurity, bad economy and disunity in the country.
The presidential hopeful, who was accompanied by a former National Chairman of the PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje said: “We need a President that will stand, that is bold and courageous. We all know my four years as the Senate President, I stood for this country, I stood for what I believed was in the interest of this country.”
Besides, he said: “Let us find that person who has the energy because the work of a President is not part-time, especially now that the country is very bad.
“Nigeria needs a president that is up and running, not a president that will be giving instructions because when you give instructions and you don’t check, nothing will happen.
“We need somebody that has the energy to do it. I believe that I have that energy and capacity to do it.”
Why I visited Obasanjo —Saraki
Saraki, who addressed journalists earlier after he met with Obasanjo, said: “We are in a delicate state as a nation and we need somebody who has the experience, somebody who can unite us because, without unity, we cannot go anywhere.”
Explaining why he visited Obasanjo, Saraki said: “I can’t come to Ogun State and not pay a visit to the former President, our father and leader of modern Nigeria. Somebody, I’m very close to since I started my political career. So, I came to see him, to let him know that I’m in Ogun State and to see how good and how well he is doing. And we thank God for his health, his energy and his passion for this great country. It inspires us to see that definitely, we need to turn this country around into a country that he wishes for and that all of us wish.”
We’ve experienced unprecedented division under Buhari —Atiku
Meanwhile, Atiku, however, promised to reunite Nigerians if elected as the president of the country in 2023.
He spoke while meeting with the PDP delegates from Ondo State in Akure.
He said: “The whole country had been messed up in all sectors by the current administration and needs a person who is experienced and nationally acceptable to turn around the bad state of the nation.
“As long as the country is not united, as long as there is no peace, you cannot govern even in your own home, not to talk of a complex country like Nigeria which is multi-ethnic and multi-religious.
“The APC government has caused disunity I have never seen in my life in this country. If I’m elected I will reunite every part of the country.”
Atiku highlighted five areas where he would work if elected, which include unity, insecurity, economy, education and restructuring.
His words: “I believe in small Federal Government, the power should be devolved to the states.
“We must vote for a person with national acceptability and experience. Atiku Abubakar is a household name in this country; we deserve the best for this country.
While lamenting that insecurity challenges have been threatening the peace of Nigeria, the presidential hopeful said: “This country has never seen the level of insecurity that we are facing today. I am here because I have the requisite experience to govern this country well and equitably, to give everyone a sense of belonging. I am here to appeal to your conscience; you have a historic responsibility to bail out this country.”
Nigerians don’t trust any presidential aspirant — Gani Adams
But speaking during his 52nd birthday celebration in Lagos where he gave scholarships to students from four tertiary institutions, Adams said that Nigerians do not trust any of those clamouring to be president in 2023.
His words: “I can tell you from all indications, the only man Nigerians believed that will save the country was Buhari but he disappointed them. All those clamouring for president now, Nigerians do not trust them.
“It is very clear that people are not willing to cast their vote, the number of people voting is reducing every time. The aspirant that has experience will not be allowed to be President of Nigeria because they have commercialised the political space and that is why we don’t get it right as a country.
“We always advise our politicians not to run away from the way we started, the constitution we wrote in 1963. If we don’t do the needful, I don’t know what will happen in the next three years.”
The Yoruba leader said that the scholarship given to four students from Ekiti State University, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Adekunle Ajasin University and the University of Ibadan was to encourage them to embrace Yoruba studies.
“When you talk about culture, some religious groups will think you are promoting something bad, but to the glory of God, we have been able to change people’s perception about religion and culture.
“We have a foundation set up to promote our culture and language, no nation can develop without taking her culture and language serious.”