Senator Bukola Saraki, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Nigeria’s main opposition party, has today announced the suspension of his bid for the presidency in 2015.
Even though his Presidential interest has sparked widespread excitement across the country, and has received major supports from key stakeholders and youth groups based on his leadership profile characterized by infrastructural development, economic growth and striving social wellbeing; Senator Saraki says he is deciding to step down his ambition because, according to him, Nigeria’s political outlook for 2015 is very complicated and “this is the time for every patriotic politician to situate his personal ambition in the context of the country’s overall interest,” he says.
According to him, party primaries in any healthy democracy would always leave several contenders disappointed and, sometimes bitter, as there would be only one winner. The party would then invest so much energy and time afterwards managing and reconciling various interests. “I don’t think our party can afford too much internal rancour going into next year’s election. I therefore think some of us need to make the sacrifice and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of the party,” says the Senator who is regarded as one of the masterminds of a major breakaway from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) earlier in the year.
Senator Saraki recounted how he, along with other progressives in the PDP decided to leave the party to join the APC when it was clear that PDP, especially at the national level, had become too invested in the personal ambition of one man at the overall detriment of the country and its democracy.
“I have always maintained that I did not leave the ruling party to join the opposition because of any personal interest. Anyone who understands Nigeria’s politics would know that it takes courage and self-sacrifice to do that. Therefore, whether it is on the issue of the party or all other issues that I have been pushing in my position as a Senator of the Federal Republic, I have been driven primarily by my desire to see a better and more purposely governed country.”
According to him, Nigeria desperately needs change. “We need to change the way the country is run, we need change in our security and the values we place on human life, we need to change the current disgraceful situation in security and corruption. And I believe only the APC can bring about this change and give our country the leadership it deserves.”
He notes, however, that APC can only live up to the aspirations of Nigerians for change if it is not derailed by too much acrimony from its primaries which is coming so close to the general elections.
“This is why some of us felt that we must make the necessary sacrifice and contribute to building a strong and united party that provides the only real alternative to the floundering Government that has become so constipated on power and lost touch with the realities that ordinary Nigerians grapple with everyday.”
Senator Saraki has had the opportunity to discuss and exchange thoughts and ideas with other Presidential aspirants namely, General Buhari, Alhaji Atiku and Governor Kwankwaso. Senator Saraki stated he is convinced that they are committed to see that APC will be able to come up with a credible and acceptable candidate that will take our dear country on a different path. A source close to Senator Saraki said even though his endorsement is being courted by the other aspirants, in the spirit of playing a role to being part of the solution to ensuring a rancor, bitter free presidential primaries, Senator Saraki will not officially endorse any of the candidates immediately, but will work tirelessly to see that who ever emerges is acceptable by all.
Senator Saraki thanked his family, loyalists, followers and groups across the country, that have urged him to join the presidential race because of their belief that he is the best man to fix Nigeria, most especially the teeming youths who might feel disappointed as a result of this sacrificial decision by Senator Saraki, he urged them to keep hope alive and assured them that who ever will receive his support and endorsement will be someone who believes in our asipiration, interest and yearning for a better future for our teaming youth. Saraki reinstated his commitment to the interest of the youths being protected and secured so that at the end of the day, everyone will speak with one voice that we will all be proud of. And urged them all to continue to support APC.