General Muhammadu Buhari has finally declared his intension to contest the presidential election in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), declaring that he would pursue a nine-point agenda for the development of the country.
Buhari made the declaration yesterday at the Eagle Square in Abuja where a mammoth crowd of supporters turned up from across the 36 states of the federation to witness the event, including APC governors who came to support his candidature.
The APC presidential aspirant identified insecurity and corruption as a top priority for his administration if elected, stressing that “Protection of lives and property” was at the heart of the party’s agenda, as Boko Haram Islamists, marauding gangs, armed robbers and kidnappers had left communities living in fear.
He also rapped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of President Goodluck Jonathan, which he said has been in power since Nigeria returned to civilian rule 15 years ago.
“Since 1999, PDP has presided over our country’s decline. Nigeria, in my experience, has never been so divided, so polarised by an unthinking government hell-bent on ruling and stealing,” he said.
Corruption, he said, has become “blatant and widespread” while the country had earned the unenviable
reputation worldwide as “the home of corruption”, he added.
The former Head of state declared that he will pursue a nine-point agenda if elected, among which include; protection of lives and property, sound economic policies and immediate attention on youth employment, quality education, agricultural productivity and food security, reviving Industry to generate employment and developing solid minerals exploitation which will substantially attract employment and revenue for government.
While presenting himself for the fourth time as presidential aspirant, Buhari stated that there was no point conducting any election if it’s not free and fair, stressing that “interference in the form of rigging by the ruling PDP is the worst form of injustice”.
He noted that the PDP has continued to deny the people their right to express their opinion, warning however that “whether they like it or not, this injustice will not endure”, adding that since 1999, the PDP has been presiding over the country’s decline.
“I humbly wish to present myself before you, before all Nigerians and before God seeking to be elected as APC presidential candidate” Buhari declared before his large crowd of supporters that thronged the Eagle Square to witness the event.
Others includes, restoring honour and integrity to public service by keeping the best and attracting the best, tackling corruption which has become blatant and widespread, and respecting the constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislatures and judiciary and respecting the rights of citizens.
He criticized the ruling PDP for not doing enough to provide electricity to Nigerians. “When PDP came to power in 1999 Nigeria was generating about 4,000 M/W of electricity.
After 15 years and $20 billion spent we are generating between 3,000 – 4,000 M/W. No failure is more glaring than this. We in APC are resolved to bring change to Nigeria. We plan to do things differently.
He commended the armed forces and the police in their efforts to return peace to the country urging them to “continue until victory is won.” Senator Habu Ibrahim (APC, Katisana South) while giving the votes of thanks, said there is rampant corruption cases before the Senate and that Nigeria needed someone like Buhari to rescue the country, adding that the insecurity situation in the country is so pandemic and must be arrested.
APC governors that attended the ceremony include, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa State, Governor Rotimi Ameachi of Rivers State, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Governor Adams Oshiohmole of Edo State, while Governors of Kwara and Sokoto States send their representatives.
Other dignitaries that graced the occasion are former governors of Nasarawa and Bayelsa States, Sen Abdullahi Adamu and Chief Timipre Silva respectively, Chief Audu Ogbe, former minister of petroleum, Professor Tam David West, Alh Umaru Dembo, Sen. George Akume, Senate Minority Leader, Sen Habu Ibrahim, Sen Ali Ndume and Sen Mamora among others.
The APC will pick its presidential candidate for the February 14, 2015 vote in December, with Buhari expected to slug it out for the ticket of the party with three other aspirants namely; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State and Leadership newspapers publisher, Sam Nda-Isiah.
Jonathan not bothered by Buhari, Atiku’s declaration, says Presidency
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan is not moved by the declaration by former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on the platform of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest for the 2015 Presidential election with him.
Briefing newsmen at the Villa after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Senior Special
Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, described both candidates as serial losers who would pose no threat to Jonathan’s reelection plan.
He said “You know Yoruba people have one proverb which says it is the biggest Masquerade that comes out last. The declaration by the opposition is not really something new. Most of the candidates of the opposition are serial failures.
“Atiku has tried twice and has failed, Buhari has done it four times and he has failed. If you present yourself for an election, first, second, third and fourth times, what new things are they bringing? Have they gone to school or are they bringing new things. We are absolutely unperturbed” Okupe noted that the APC is not relevant now but could be by 2019 when his principal would have completed his second term in office.
On when Jonathan would declare his intention to seek a second term in office, Okupe said he would do that after due consideration No noted that the President has been under intense pressure from ordinary citizens, foreign and local interest groups and his party to seek re-election saying that the President has done well and would not let them down.
He also dismissed reports that the President was trying to elongate his tenure through other means than democratic with the excuse of the challenge of insurgency in the North East
“There is nothing like that. And this is not the president that would do a thing like that and there is no reason whatsoever for this president to do that.
“This is the same president that, as you must have recently heard that over 12 million Nigerians have signed their signatures on the paper asking him to come out and run” “All the stakeholders in his party, the PDP, have endorsed him and are actually asking him to come out and make his declaration to run and it is quite a logical thing to do because there is no reason of changing the winning team.