2019: Saraki blasts Buhari, considers running for Presidency

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The Senate President, Bukola Saraki says he is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election, stressing that he believes he can “make the change”.

He pointed out that investors and Nigerians have lost confidence in Buhari, insisting that Nigeria needs to be governed by a genuinely pro-business administration that would be able to tackle recurrent security issues.

Saraki said, “Most of the inflows that have come in are merely hot money, and that is because the oil price has gone up. Investment in the real sector is not seen. The private sector, in my view, has probably taken a position that the confidence is not there in the government. The country requires a government that is truly pro-business and a President that sees himself as a chief marketing officer.”

Saraki, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, told Bloomberg, that his new party may win election if it fields a good candidate.

Asked if he would run for the Presidency in 2019, Saraki said: “I am consulting and actively considering it. I believe I can make the change,

“If a government can go and lock up an arm of government — and it’s never happened in our history — we should all be very concerned.

“We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections,” he was quoted as saying.

The PDP is expected to hold its primary election in October.

Saraki pointed out that the PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015 and stand a chance of leading Nigeria in the right direction, disclosing that while his group was negotiating with the PDP, it raised a number of issues.

He said, “We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption.  The issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach to things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.

“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too has not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and the president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.”

“We (PDP) have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction,” he said.

The Senate President said that he would not be surprised if the government used security agencies for elections” as “there has been a persistent disregard for due process and a lack of neutrality for some of these issues. For you to have credible elections, you must have safe elections. Security agencies are actively getting involved in the politics.”

“The fundamentals of whatever we are going to develop are going to be based on sound democracy, credible elections, freedom of choice of Nigerians. If we don’t have that as a foundation, then everything else cannot happen,” he said.

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