By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on Thursday formally declared his intention to run for presidency in 2019, with a vow to grow Nigeria out of poverty.
Saraki disclosed that his plan is to protect all Nigerians and defend their constitutional rights and freedoms.
The Senate President, who made the declaration at a dialogue with youth and young aspirants in Abuja, promised to stand for and uphold at all times the principle of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democratic governance.
Saraki, who recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stated that the choice Nigerians face in the forthcoming elections is either to keep things as they are, or make a radical departure from the old ways.
In the words of the Senate President,” 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,” he told his audience.
Continuing, Saraki said, “My Plan for Nigeria has inclusion in all aspects of the country’s affairs as a central pillar. Every citizen has the inalienable right to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background or creed, or what part of the country they come from. No matter who you voted for or what your convictions are, government must work for you.
“Your generation does not deserve to live in the poverty capital of the world. It is no longer an issue of how we got here, but how do we get out of this situation?
“I promise you that I will lead the fight and employ every God-given resource available to us in turning things around. I am determined to grow Nigeria out of poverty.
“We will stimulate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy and to create wealth for our people, especially the youth.
“I want to see the youth play major roles at all levels, not only in government but also in the private sector and indeed in every area of Nigerian life. This will be a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.
“Nigerian youth will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.
“For youth who have ideas and capacity, we will make sure that there is funding for their ventures; and we shall build on the Made in Nigeria legislation as part of our job creation drive.
“My plan is to secure Nigeria by redesigning our national security architecture, while adequately equipping our security agencies to fulfil their primary role of protecting lives and property.
“I will address our infrastructural deficit through aggressive financing initiatives including mutually beneficial PPP arrangements, regular floating of bonds and other financial instruments, which will ensure stable, adequate and reliable funding to see to the completion of core projects especially road, rail and power.
“My plan is to protect all Nigerians and defend their constitutional rights and freedoms. I will stand for and uphold at all times the principle of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democratic governance”, he declared.