UPDATED: Saraki finally joins presidential race, promises to lead fight against poverty

UPDATED: Saraki finally joins presidential race, promises to lead fight against poverty

Ebun Francis|

Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s Senate president on Thursday formally joined the band of growing politicians to declare their intention to run for the office of the president of Nigeria on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Saraki declared his intention to run for the highest office in the country at Sheraton hotel, Abuja while meeting with young aspirants in the PDP.

He also promised to lead the fight against poverty if elected.

Saraki said, “I have decided to answer the call of teeming youth who have asked me to run for president. Accordingly, I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming general elections in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”

“I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians.

“It is widely acknowledged that ours is a relatively ‘young’ country bursting with tremendous energy, ability, and potential. More than 70 per cent of our population is under the age of 40.

“You are indeed the future of this country. Ordinarily, such a young population would be the envy of many Western countries that are faced with ageing populations, but the dire state of our affairs tarnishes the youthful advantage that we have.

“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.

“The harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuels the state of insecurity all over the country. 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.”

“It is with all these in mind, and taking account of the challenges that I have outlined, that I have decided to answer the call of teeming youth who have asked me to run for president,” he said.

The Senate president who recently defected from the ruling party, APC, has been consulting with many stakeholders in the country, including former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida.

He also visited the immediate past president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.

 

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