Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said that he has enough experience to tackle Nigeria’s security challenges and restructure the country.
Atiku said this while addressing the Arewa Joint Committee Interactive session with the 2023 presidential candidates.
He solicited the support of voters to enable him deploy his wealth of experience for the benefit of all citizens.
Atiku appealed to Northerners in particular to key into his agenda to rebuild and lead the nation into an era of economic development and progress, saying what Nigeria needed now was a pan-Nigerian President and not a Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba leader.
He said the credential of national inclusivity, not ethnicity, should be an ideal that the North should examine in electing the country’s next president.
Citing his over 30 years involvement in Nigerian politics, Atiku said he stood shoulders high as a Northerner who has built bridges of unity across the country.
He said: “I have been in politics for more than three decades and I am a Northerner. So, if you ask me why I am the best candidate to lead Nigeria in 2023, I will simply say that what Nigeria needs is a pan-Nigerian president, not whether he is Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa-Fulani.”
He said the North should have nothing to fear about restructuring as there could be no economic prosperity in the country without unity and national security.
The former Vice President said premium attention would be given to “the criticality of private sectors leadership and greater private sectors participation in development; while repositioning the Public’ sectors to focus on its core responsibility of facilitation and enabling the appropriate legal and regulatory framework for rapid economic development”.
It was also necessary, he said, to “break government monopoly in all Infrastructure sectors, including the refineries, rail transportation and power transmission and give private investors a role in funding and managing the sectors, thus emulating the benefits accrued in the oil and gas and telecoms sectors”
On security, Atiku lamented that “Nigeria has never been overwhelmed by insecurity in all parts of the country. Sadly we have reached a point where the functions of the state have been usurped by separatists, bandits, insurgents and terrorists.
“I am committed to articulate and implement transformation and development agenda of a united, secured and prosperous country,” he said.
The former Vice President also noted that Nigeria’s unity had never been threatened like it is now with increasing number of Nigerians citizens openly challenging their allegiance to the country’s corporate existence through violent agitations and misguided demand for ethno-regional autonomy “because of widespread feelings of marginalization and neglect”.