I have met the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar several times. He had come across as someone who actually believes that it is either we save Nigeria now or we allow it to wither. Pinpointing that the choice is obvious, he insisted that delay could be very dangerous. During our meetings, which touched on several issues about Nigeria, repeatedly, he kept underscoring this urgent need to repair and revamp Nigeria’s unity. He kept insisting that there is only one way to do this – bring peace through unfettered justice and sense of belonging to all.
The former vice president told me that the economy could only be a necessary corollary to peace ensured by justice. He insisted that a good economy would serve as a strong pedestal for the rehabilitation, refurbishment and replenishment of our health and educational services. “It is time we stop playing games with the destiny of this country. All of us must recognize that injustice is what is fuelling separatist agitations.
This has to be addressed. We can’t sweep it under the carpet any longer. All of us must embrace restructuring,” he volunteered. He explained further: “There has to be a politically conducive atmosphere for the country to move forward on other fronts for us to be able to address the challenges facing our people. It is not possible the other way round. All nationalities should embrace restructuring. It will establish trust among us all. It will renew our commitment to this country. It will go a long way to address the fears of various nationalities and make us stronger as a country.
We have to do it.” “I am very glad to let you know,” he made it clear to me, “that I have succeeded in convincing the elders in the North of the propriety of restructuring. They were totally against it initially. But I am grateful to Allah that I have been able to bring them around. It has been a difficult task, but we accomplished it. With the same attitude, open mindedness and determination, we can cooperatively take Nigeria to the next level.” I asked him, “You have been in politics for a long time. You have been the Vice President of this country.
Why do you have to be President?” “It is true; I was the Vice President of this country. But the way our constitu-tion works, you could only be as good and as effective as the President wants you to be. The President’s ideas are what you espoused. His policies, as inspired by the party manifestos, are what you follow and execute,” he explained.
He then added: “I want to be President to help put Nigeria on the path to the deserved greatness. I have what it takes to make this country work. I am the best prepared candidate for the Office of the President. I have not only learnt; my knowledge has increased. My vistas have improved.
My horizon has extended. My perspective has widened and my vision is much more consummated. I am much more matured. I am ready.” He then extrapolated, “I have policies on what to be done. From resolving our political crisis to bringing our economy to the digital age and making it competitive.
Reforming our education to revitalizing our health sector. Kneecapping institutionalized corruption and unleashing the great potentials of this great country. I am very ready.” His Excellency told me that he is not in the business of blaming anyone. “My business as the President of this country is to proffer practical, result oriented solutions.
It is to alleviate the sufferings of our people through a working economy and ensure peace through justice. “There is too much hunger in the country. The pervasive hunger has brought about seething anger. The injustice in the land has exacerbated the anger. We are sitting on a time bomb. We have to detonate it. We cannot allow it to explode.
We must rescue this generation from selfdestruct. We must give hope to the next generation,” he further explained. Ruminating, he looked into space and said as if soliloquizing, “I have what it takes to build a New Nigeria. I have done my homework. I have been tested. I am prepared. I will work to push and put my ideas on the party platform.
I look forward to working with other great, brilliant and talented patriotic Nigerians to actualize my dreams and vision for this country. I pray and hope that Nigerians would give me the opportunity to bring to bear my wherewithal on our present to chart the part for our future. I appeal to them to do so. I really do.” “I am in the process of putting my campaign organization together after which I will unfold the details of my agenda for the country,” he promised.
· Oyeyemi is a journalist and public analyst
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