“I can’t say Atiku will win or Atiku will lose. I congratulate him, it makes the issue now much more robust. It is not going to be Eaglets versus Eagles. It is going to be Eagle versus Eagle; old Eagle versus new Eagle, or probably both of them old Eagles.
The Convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said that the 2019 presidential race between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would be a robust fight between two ‘old eagles’. Speaking yesterday in Lagos during his Independence Anniversary State of the Nation address titled, “The Road to 2019: Quo Vadis, Nigeria?’ Bakare said the emergence of Atiku as PDP presidential candidate preludes a tough contest, adding that the former vice president appears the most cosmopolitan among those who contested against him. Bakare, a Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, was Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election. According to him, both Buhari and Atiku are an equal match, but the choice of who becomes the president in 2019 is with Nigerians. “I can’t say Atiku will win or Atiku will lose. I congratulate him, it makes the issue now much more robust. It is not going to be Eaglets versus Eagles. It is going to be Eagle versus Eagle; old Eagle versus new Eagle, or probably both of them old Eagles.
“I am not advocating for Atiku. Of all of them, he is perhaps the most cosmopolitan. He is a Wazobia man. His first wife is Yoruba, his second wife Fulani; his third wife is Ibo. Experience- wise, he has been Vice- President for eight years and he inherited something from late Yar’Adua that he has held unto and he has used effectively.
He has been a businessman with business acumen and he has exposures. You see, sometimes, that is not what qualifies a man to win. “Atiku Abubakar is yet to come up with his running mate and Buhari also is yet to come out with his running mate. Nothing is settled. But I can tell you one thing, I know by the grace of God, Nigeria will survive this period and the electorate would be better for it if they are informed; if they keep themselves to the issues that confront us. “There is no army as powerful as an idea whose time has come and anybody who is trying to rubbish restructuring in Nigeria today is taking a risk he may not recover from.” Speaking on Buhari’s 2019 chances, he said: “I wish President Buhari all the very best. He has the power of incumbency and he is going to do his best to win this election. And Atiku is not going to take no for answer, but the grass will not suffer when they become forces against themselves.
“I sat with him (Buhari) for more than an hour before this broadcast today. Perhaps there are amends he could make before 2019, who knows? But there must be a kind of introspection to see that the force that brought him into power was ‘anything but Jonathan’. “And if care is not taken, Nigerians are being pushed to the wall to say anything but Buhari. But he still has enough time in his hands to make amends so that the contest will be on policies, programmes and agenda, rather than sentiments.”
The SNG Convener said his comments about the Buhari’s administration from the beginning, should not be interpreted to mean he was attacking the government. “I didn’t take any swipe at the administration of President Buhari. What I have always said is that despite the acclaimed progress in the country, Nigerians are not feeling the impact in their homes. “That does not mean the government is not working. Look at the groaning of the people, the government still has to do a lot more before the 2019 elections.
“They have to work harder to assure Nigerians that they are really up to the task of listening to their yearnings and aspirations. “The purpose of government is the welfare and security of people. Take that from the equation, then governance means nothing,” he said. Speaking on his political aspiration, Bakare said he would run for the office of the president after the tenure of President Buhari to ensure the implementation of a 16 pragmatic steps to restructuring.
“Fellow Nigerians, on this day, the 7th of October, 2018, I declare to you that I am running. Yes, I am running. I am running for a united Nigeria that will birth the New Nigeria. I am running to begin to stir conversations around the seven-point agenda. I am running to lead Nigerians in a movement to demand the adoption of the pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria. “But don’t get it mixed up. I am not running with my name on the ballot paper; my name is in the Book of Life. I am not running for any office in the 2019 elections; the doctrine of my election stands sure.
I am not running on the platform of any political party; I am building a political family. I will be Nigeria’s 16th President after Buhari.” Expressing displeasure at the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the recently concluded Osun governorship election, the clergyman described the outcome of the election as a sham, saying it was a pointer “to the ignoble intentions of this political class ahead of 2019. What a sham, and what a shame!”
“The recently concluded gubernatorial selection, sorry, election, in Osun State is a pointer to the ignoble intentions of this political class ahead of 2019. What a sham, and what a shame! By what constitutional provision or act of the National Assembly is INEC empowered to cancel election results the way it did in Osun State? “Did we have a rerun in Osun State or a test run? In the 2015 elections, widespread incidents of card reader malfunction did not warrant election cancellation; instead, INEC resorted to manual accreditation. “What legal basis has, therefore, warranted the Commission’s decisions in Osun State? Ought not the reasons given by INEC for ordering a rerun in Osun State be matters for the courts? Or has the umpire become a judge empowered by incumbents to interpret laws?”