Restructuring: APC deceived Nigerians in 2015 – Atiku Abubakar

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, has reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that his party assumes power in Lagos State by 2023.

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has misled Nigerians since 2015 by not delivering on their promise to restructure the country.

On Tuesday in Abuja, Atiku met with the top officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and made this statement.

His principal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and his constituency in Adamawa disagreed with the proposal CAN presented to him, but he said he stood by it anyway.

He claims to have complied with CAN’s proposal in a book he authored and to maintain all of the book’s stated goals.

However, he pointed out that the government from 1999 to 2015 was different from the current one.

“You must realise there is a difference between the government that ran this country from 1999 to 2015 and the government that has been running this country from 2015 till date.

“One example I want to give you, they said they need restructuring. Did they restructure? So they told Nigerians what they wanted to hear and did a different thing when they got the opportunity. PDP is not like that.

“I stand before you here not to campaign but to tell you the truth; what you have presented to us is what I have always believed in, and if I have the opportunity, I swear to God, I will do it.

“The fundamental front lines that we have seen in the last 7 to 8 years only occurred because you wanted to change in 2015, and you elected the change you are seeing and experiencing now”, he said.

Atiku Abubakar stated that “the CAN document is totally in conformity with thoughts in a book which I published even when I was a vice President and I had a fundamental disagreement with my president on that book and the policies it advocates on that book.

“Not only did my President and I have problems, but I also had problems with my constituency where I come from, but because it is something that I believed in, I still stand by those objectives in that book.”

To reduce crime, he plans to hire more police officers and provide them with better resources.

“We cannot have state police without having a constitutional amendment, so we will go into constitution amendment where we will have different levels of police. These are our plans to tackle the security challenges facing the country.

“For sure, we need a judicial amendment; first of all, there are poor wages for Judges and deplorable working conditions. Again, the judiciary has levels, the federal judiciary and the state. Still, we will attempt as much as possible to have a judicial reform where we will improve the dispensation of justice and the welfare of Judges.”

As he put it, “once you reside in any part of the country and pay your taxes, you should be entitled to indigenship.” This clause is part of the definition of indigenship in the Constitution, and its removal has his support.

While speaking with the CAN’s top officials, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Mr Peter Obi said that all 18 candidates for president would make the same pledge. He urged his fellow compatriots to verify their claims’ authenticity before supporting them.

He said Nigeria must be transformed from a consumer nation into a producer, and the country must be made more secure and united.

According to Obi, Nigeria now fits the criteria for a failed state because the government has lost control of the country’s territory and economy.

“All presidential candidates will tell you the same story; everybody’s account will be as sweet as the others. You are going to check the sincerity and the truth and the one you can trust.

“It is now who among these 18 presidential candidates can you trust because there is no promise that we are going to make that has not been made in the past; that promise has always been there.

“I want to move the country from consumption to production; it is not a productive country; our priority is to secure and unite the country; it is the number one thing you need to do.

“Nigeria has hit the two most critical things that qualify a country to a failed state, number one, when you are no longer in control of your territory, we are no longer in control of our territory; number two is when you are no longer in control of your economy, nobody can tell you today how much they are going to sell a bag of rice tomorrow. No country can function like that.

“You saw the last report where we have 133 million people living in poverty; no country can have such a number of people living in poverty and won’t face the crisis we are facing”, Obi said.

His argument was that poor population numbers directly resulted from years of ineffective leadership.

“I assure you that I am committed to the charter; the only thing there is how do we implement it, the will to implement it, and I can tell you that we need to restructure, but even as bad as the present constitution is, there is a lot of guarantees in it, and there is a lot of things that you can implement that can make it work, it is not what is stopping us from production, that is not the problem of production, over the years, we have had incompetent leadership”, he added.

In his remarks, CAN President Archbishop Daniel Okoh emphasised that the organisation takes great care not to be partisan, a stance it still maintains.

“All the positions we have taken have not changed any of them. We will let the Nigerian public know if we want to change any position.

“When people read insinuations on social media, I will advice that people will come to CAN to verify and to be sure that what you see out there is truly the position of the Christian Association of Nigeria”, he reiterated.