Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has pointed out that Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, would be a president to all Nigerians and not president to only those who would vote for him.
The former president made the remark at the Island Club’s 2019 Quarterly Business Lecture on Wednesday, in Lagos.
Talking about Atiku’s capacity to lead the nation, Obasanjo said as a leader one must understand the fundamental of the problems that he or she had to solve, readiness to reach out to knowledgeable men and women for solutions that would benefit humanity.
“I have been called names because of my position on Atiku. Those things that I said as far as my knowledge of Atiku is concerned are very true.
“What I wrote about Buhari has been confirmed to be true. The way Buhari’s government has been going has shown that it is not ready to defend our democracy or Nigeria’s progress, and so Nigerians must do it themselves,” he said.
He continued: “Atiku has done one thing which is necessary for a leader to be believed or followed. He made mistakes and had accepted his mistakes and asked for forgiveness.
“I forgave and I am sure Nigerians will do their part by voting for him. A leader should be susceptible to mistakes. When you have corruption under your nose you are busy preaching fight against corruption.
“Atiku had not claimed to be a saint and I did not describe him as such. He has accepted his mistakes and that is what a good leader should do and not look for someone to pass the bulk to.”
Expressing confidence in majority of Nigerians voting for Atiku on the day of election, he said he was sure that they would vote for Atiku so that they would experience genuine change that they had been yearning for.
He pointed out that Atiku would be a president that would be in charge of affairs and not one that would allow a group of cabal to control his government.
The former president said he wanted to use the opportunity to clear some false news that he did not allow Atiku to preside over the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He explained that he did not have to hand over to Atiku as acting president because he did not have any reason to be absent from office for 104 consecutive days.
He stressed that the constitution was very clear on the position of the duties of the vice president, and pointed out that Atiku actually presided over the Federal Executive Council meeting any time he was not around.
Atiku, who delivered the quarterly lecture, disclosed that he would take practical steps to reposition the economy and restore investors’ confidence in it, if elected.
In the lecture titled, ‘My Vision to Get Nigeria Working Again,’ Atiku said he would support the private sector by undertaking reforms that would unleash growth in the economy.
“We will restore confidence in the Nigerian economy. We will implement policies to drive growth.
“Today, Ghana – a country with just 14 percent of our population – attracts more Foreign Direct Investment than Nigeria.
“In order to reverse the trend, our economic policies would be more coherent, consistent and therefore more predictable by the business community.
“Nothing could be more threatening to investment flows than an environment that is full of policy flip-flops.”
While unravelling major issues embodied in his #TheAtikuPlan for the economy, the PDP candidate said he would create the environment for a strong, productive, pro-growth private sector to create opportunities, jobs, and fight poverty.
He promised that his government would constantly engage the private sector in policy design and policy implementation.
Atiku emphasised that he would liberalise the economic space and privatise all the ailing public enterprises, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“The #AtikuPlan will undertake a de-regulation of the downstream sector of the economy, review the PIB and privatise all four state refineries that operate less than 10 percent of their installed capacities.
“We shall channel the proceeds from the privatisation into a special fund for the development of education and health,” he said.
He added that he would assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to grow and play their expected roles in the economy through the right policies and programmes.
The PDP candidate said he would increase investments in human capital, especially in health and education, as the people were the fundamental reason for economic growth.
“We will create jobs by growing the economy, by promoting innovative flagship, job creation programmes such as the National Open Apprenticeship Programme, through which we shall enhance the capacity of master craftsmen and women to train one million apprentices every year.
“Our National Innovation Fund and SME Venture initiatives will provide stable and sustainable long-term support to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“We will create an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately $25 billion to support private sector investment in infrastructure,” he said.
Atiku also promised to embark on a workable power reform to improve power supply.
He also promised to improve liquidity by undertaking fiscal restructuring if elected.
He said repositioning the economy required a government that has the right focus, adding that the PDP would meet the economic goals of Nigerians, if elected.
Speaking on the recent suspension of the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen, Abubakar described the Federal Government‘s action as wrong.
He said the constitution already spelt out the rules for the suspension and removal of the CJN, pointing out that due process was not followed in Onnoghen’s suspension.
He urged all Nigerians to use the opportunity of the February elections to vote the candidate with the right competence to govern the country.
Atiku thanked the Island Club, a foremost social club in Lagos, for the platform to speak and articulate his economic vision for Nigeria.
Besides Obasanjo, other prominent Nigerians at the lecture were Senate President Bukola Saraki; PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce.
Others were PDP chieftain, Chief Bode George; PDP governorship candidate in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, and former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel.