PDP Presidential Ticket : Atiku, Turaki meet Forum of ex-Presiding Officers
ABUJA-As the race to pick the sole Presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 election intensify, two aspirants-former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and ex-Minister of Special Duties, Barrister Kabiru Tanimu Turaki Tuesday in Abuja met with the Forum of Former Presiding Officers of State Assemblies elected on the platform of the party to avail them of their respective plans for the nation. The duo met with the members of the forum separately as part of their on-going consultation among stakeholders of the party. Turaki Atiku who was the first to arrive met behind close door with the former Presiding officers drawn from the six-geo-political zones of the country alongside members of his campaign organization. The meeting which lasted less than thirty minutes left Atiku in good spirit as he emerged shortly after, beaming with smiles. Although Atiku did not disclose details of what transpired at the meeting, the 2019 Presidential hopeful berated the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration handling of the violent killings in some parts of the country. He called for increased dialogue amongst the leadership of the affected communities, adding that news of mindless killings in the nation is denting the image of the country before the international community. He described the forum as “A force to be reckoned with based on the number of its members and their experiences,” even as he described the ruling Al Progressives Congress (APC) as deficient in the required experience good enough to take Nigeria to the next level. “They (APC) don’t have the experience, they don’t have the capacity. I think the people of Nigeria need to sit down and evaluate the APC and PDP. There is nothing to say about the APC,” he said. On his part, Turaki expressed confidence in the ability of the PDP to put the woes of 2015 behind, saying more than anything else, the rebranded platform of the party would oust the ruling party in 2019. According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), “The PDP has men and women of impeccable integrity and credibility; men and women that have be known to be bridge builders; men and women that have the knowledge, education and experience. PDP has people that have done it before and those capable of doing it again. So, this is why we say the PDP is different from any political party in the history of this country. “Nigerians have also had the rare opportunity of trying others and have seen the result of that trial which has led Nigerians into poverty, despondency, penury, hunger and certainly, Nigerians now want to bring back the PDP. Yes, as human beings, we were not infallible. We have made our mistakes but those were genuine mistakes. We keep saying we have learnt from those mistakes and when we get the opportunity again, we assure Nigerians that what we are going to do will be beyond their imagination.” On the killings in some parts of the country, the Presidential aspirant questioned what he termed a lack of synergy amongst the security agencies, even as he urged them to put on their thinking cap. “It is unfortunate that these killings are happening and this is as a result of the failings of the APC-led government. You would recall that some months ago, the National Security Adviser appeared before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to openly admit that the greatest problem that the Nigerian security agencies are having is that they work at cross purposes. There is no cooperation; there is no synergy. And if the critical security agencies are not sharing information and intelligence, how do you expect them to come up with a tight security architecture that will safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians?” he queried. Spokesman of the forum and former Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, Honourable Inuwa Garba told journalists that they chose to meet the two aspirants to know their plans for the country and their citizens. He further noted that members of the forum have resolved to give a bloc vote to a candidate of their choice after reaching out to all those who have indicated interest to run for the plum office of the President. “We as former Presiding officers of State Assemblies have a platform of over 200 delegates and the aspirants are coming to us to tell us what they will offer Nigerians. It is not going to be business as usual. This time, we are not just going to anoint any person as our candidate without knowing his capacity and without the assurance that he has a good track record and the vision to be able to bring Nigerians out of this terrible situation. We are interacting with the aspirants as envisaged candidates on our party platform. “And the fact that we are among the statutory delegates of the party, we are in the process of interacting and listening to them to know and hear what they have for Nigerians. Former Presiding Officers of State Assemblies will vote in bloc based on our understanding and firm belief that the aspirant so chosen is the best and would be able to deliver success to the party to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. We are out for a candidate that will unite this country for the better,” Garba stated.