The presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Mr. Atiku Abubakar has said his mission in the race is to rescue, and rebuild Nigeria.
He called for unity of purpose, coming together to fight and win all the elections slated for next year. “It is my fervent prayer and hopes that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rescue, rebuild and reposition our beloved country, Nigeria,” Atiku said while addressing members of the PDP presidential campaign council shortly after their inauguration in Abuja on Wednesday.
Atiku, a former Vice-President of the country accused the ruling APC government of leading the country into a mess, promising that his era as a president will usher in a new dawn for the west African country with an estimated population of 200 million, confronted with security challenges arising from the activities of Islamist Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, depleting living standards, separatist agitation and uncontrolled deprecation of Naira, the local currency.
Mr. Abubakar accused the President Muhammadu Buhari regime of presiding over a country with “a frightening descent into anarchy”.
“The current government has failed at the very essence of what makes a government — the security of lives and property of citizens, our school is in shambles, roads have stagnated and our people are facing massive existential challenges daily, and can barely make ends meet.
“Our nation is in disarray, the fabric of unity that binds our country is today being torn apart by mutual distrust, ethnic and sectarian strife, and we are more disunited than we have ever been in our history, including even when we fought a civil war.
“Our educational system is comatose, nothing more underscores this than the twin embarrassing facts of the number of children that are currently out of school — 20 million according to the UNESCO.
“And the length of time university students have been kept out of their classrooms this year as a result of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Umbrella body of lecturers in Nigeria’s public universities have been on strike since February over unresolved issues with the government bordering on education funding, the autonomy of the universities, and unfulfilled promises to enhance their welfare in the past.
This according to Mr. Abubakar is a willing tool for under-development, accusing the government of not being suitable to offer solutions to the challenges of the 21st-century economy that works for everyone
“We have a plan to address these issues and arrest the drift of our nation,” he assured.
Nigerians are expected to go to polls next year in a major election that has two other front liners as presidential hopefuls — Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and the candidate of APC, and Mr. Peter Obi, also a former governor of Anambra and candidate of Labour Party.
The incumbent APC government has been condemned for failure to address skyrocketing poverty, burgeoning security concerns, divisiveness along the ethnic and religious lines, inflation, and others.