Yesterday at a brief media breakfast meeting in Abuja, Former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki formally declared his presidential ambition adding that he joined the race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to fill the leadership gap required to take Nigeria to its full potential.
In his remarks, he said:
“I’m running to end the reign of impunity, insecurity and terror. The stake has never been higher, what we have today is not our country; it is certainly not the Nigeria of our founding fathers.
“In our lifetime, we have witnessed a Nigeria where we would leave Lagos at night and arrive Maiduguri in the morning without fear.
“For all that we have experienced in the last couple of years, the 2023 Presidential election looms large as another watershed moment in our political history.
“We must all acknowledge that some things have happened in this country in the last couple of years that no one could have imagined possible only less than a decade ago.
“2023 therefore presents us with a great moment of decision: the moment to choose hope over hopelessness; the moment to choose peace and security over fear and terror; the moment to choose unity and inclusion over division and exclusion; the moment that we draw a bold line in the sands of history and say, “no more,” and then move ahead as one people, as one nation, towards our God-assigned destiny as the greatest black nation on the face of the earth.”
“Rather, this is the moment, when all patriots and citizens of goodwill must show courage, rise above those lines of divisions that have kept us apart over the years and ask this very important question: ‘where do we go from here?”
In an apparent response to insinuations that his privileged background will isolate him from reality, he said: “I do not have a grass to grace story to tell. Some may even consider me privileged. But I never take my privileges for granted.
“I learned as a young boy growing up under the watchful guidance of a father who loved this country so dearly that to whom much is given, much is expected.
“Therefore, I can say that even the privileges of my childhood were easily matched by a dominant culture of giving, created by a father whose politics was defined by a deep commitment to helping and uplifting others.
“I learned from him that life is truly worth living only when it is lived in the service of something that is bigger than yourself.
“I decided to become a doctor because of this ingrained desire to help and to serve others. And when in 1999, I joined government as Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, I became even more acutely aware of the limitless possibilities for service through government; and of how political power in the hands of a committed, competent and courageous leadership can solve real problems and uplift the destiny of a nation and her people.
“It was this same realization that motivated me to contest and win election as the Governor of Kwara State in 2003.
“Even back then, many did not give me a chance to succeed. They thought I was too young and too much of a political neophyte to make an impact.
“He is private sector and privileged’, they said. “So how would he understand what the poor people in the state want or what they are going through?.
“But I believe I proved them wrong in the end. Armed with a deep passion to serve, and to make a difference, I did my best to impact lives and to leave a lasting legacy.