As the general election draws closer and infact only four months away, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has assured Nigerians that if he is elected, there will be no place for a cabal in his government.
The former vice president pledged during an interview on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, D.C., United States, promising to be fully in charge of his administration rather than allowing any clique to hijack the government’s machinery.
Aliyu Mustapha Sokoto, the Head of VOA’s Hausa Service, hosted the program.
The promise by the PDP standard-bearer for the February 25 presidential election comes against the backdrop of widespread belief in the country that some powerful individuals form cliques that determine the policy and programs of whoever becomes president, often at odds with core promises to the electorate.
Atiku, who served as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s vice president, was also the PDP’s candidate in the 2019 general election.
If elected president, Waziri Adamawa has stated that he will not be subjected to any form of manipulation by any clique.
“There will be no cabal in my government.” “I, Waziri (Atiku), will lead the administration,” Atiku stated during the interview.
Many people, including the incumbent president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, have openly stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has given a clique control of state affairs.
In a 2019 interview with VOA, the president refuted the claim.
According to the VOA, Atiku travelled to the United States to meet with government officials about various issues, including insecurity, the economic crisis, and Nigeria’s general election in 2023.
Atiku used the interview to elaborate on his plan to rescue and rebuild Nigeria, emphasizing the importance of amending the 1999 Constitution to address the threat of insecurity.
We would confront this issue by convoking a constitutional review so that states and local governments, to whom we intend to give the imprimatur to run their security affairs, would be able to do so. But this requires amendment of constitution.
Before we embark on this, we intend to employ more boots on ground, especially in the area of policing and civil defence, all of which we want to equip properly, Atiku said.
He promised that his administration would work closely with the judiciary to ensure that offenders were tried quickly and that he would support the imposition of the death penalty for terrorism-related offences.
While Atiku did not elaborate on his current relationship with his former boss, Obasanjo, he did say that disagreements with the ex-Nigerian leader while they were in office, were one of the factors that cost him victory in his bid for the presidency in 2011. Atiku said he knows nothing about the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) ongoing plan to redesign three denominations of the national currency (Naira).
But on the issue of Nigerian oil refineries, the former vice president said:
My position on this is not new. I have told you some years ago that I will privatise them. The reason is simple. If you allow investors to own them, they’d be better managed.
The PDP candidate added that private investors could overhaul the refineries and make them functional at all times.
On his plan to fight corruption, he said the rule of law would be applied to ensure that those found guilty are not left off the hook.
This would demonstrate to Nigerians that our government means business, Atiku said.
The ex-vice president also spoke on the internal squabbles rocking the PDP, saying he concurred that there was no reconciliation in sight yet.
We are yet to resolve the matter. But we have moved ahead. Our train has moved.., he explained.
He further said he does not support the removal of the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, as it is not a clever move as the elections are approaching.
It is not proper, at this time, to contemplate a change of leadership of our party, whereas we are approaching the election season,” Atiku said while expressing confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would preside over free and fair election in February 2023.
This is because we have seen how they conducted two elections in Ekiti and Osun. In both cases, we have praised them for good outings. In addition to this, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured us that he would allow a transparent, free and fair election to be conducted in 2023, Atiku said.
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