ARISE TV EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ATIKU ABUBAKAR, THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF PDPON CONTESTING FOR THE FOURTH TIME
I want to give back to Nigeria what it has given to me. I have benefited from Nigeria and want to give back. I contested for the governorship of Adamawa State for four times and won the forth time. One of the most talked about president in the world is Abraham Lincoln. He contested up to about the fifth or sixth time before he became the president of United States of America. So it doesn’t matter how many times I have contested.
ABOUT WIKE AND THE NOMINATION OF OKOWA AS VP
Wike was not rejected by the party. It is only incumbent on any presidential candidate to choose his running mate. Wike is courageous, tenacious, intelligent and a very good person. I believe he has a future in the political revolution of the country. I have been consistent in choosing an Igbo person since I started running for president because I want to unite the country. An Igbo person has not been VP or president since the return of democracy in 1999. I have heard their agitations. Okowa has experience as a local government chairman, SSG, senator, governor… He is also intelligent, gentle and from the Igbo extraction.
Grazing is a State issue. I have over 1,000 cattles and they have never left the shores of Adamawa. The Federal government should not have anything to do with that matter at all. It is the responsibility of the State. It is up to the State to make law for or against open grazing.
There must be massive recruitment of Nigerians into the Police, backed by training and retraining. They have to be equipped too. *There must be State Police*. We need to review that in our constitution. Abroad, we have four levels of Police and we need to replicate that. There should be decentralisation. Even Egypt is populated with just over 80m people but has over 2m police men. Nigeria has over 200m people with less than 300 thousand police, for both foreign and local assignment It’s not enough.
“This is my fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju. I mean the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket of a thing. I opposed it and fell apart with Tinubu during the time of MKO. I opposed it again while I formed ACN with Tinubu and he went to support Jonathan. I opposed it again and this reinforced decision of Buhari to pick a Christian as a running mate in 2015. It is not good for Nigeria. I believe there should be balancing of interest.
ON PETER OBIHe didn’t inform me until I heard his declaration for LP and only informed me two days after. We have no issues. I wouldn’t say I don’t miss him. But it is very difficult for a miracle to happen to Peter Obi, who is in Labour Party. Structure at all levels of government is important and key to winning election. We have structures from senators down to local government councilors. He has no governor. They projected one million votes in Osun but see what happened. I’ve been a man with the Labour and used to interact with Adams for way forward for civil servants.
After five years of establishing my university, I was giving every student a new computer. It tells you how much I value education. I will make it more technologically driven in every aspect of our lives. Value for education depends on the leadership. There’s no institution that is more technology-driven in Nigeria more than my school. Even google can attest to that. You can find out. I was going round my school and met a lab technician, he was from the South-West and he told me in our conversation that he never saw a lab until he came for, youth service. That’s not the kind of country we want. We need a digital president who has seen a Nigeria of yesterday and today, who has something to offer.
To improve on our GDP, we have to work on Agriculture, manufacturing, and industrialization, and so on and so forth, to create jobs for our people. We need to be producing and manufacturing. In education I’m there, in agriculture I’ve invested in it. Industrially I’ve invested. I started business as a civil servant with four peugeot 404 running from Nigeria to Cotonou. We’ll support the private sector and give tax incentives.
I said we need to restructure the petroleum sector, the government in power kicked against me but have come back to it and still hasn’t done what they’re supposed to do to the fullest.
ABOUT EXCHANGE RATE It’s the CBN policy but I expect a convergent exchange rate if I become president.
We had policies laid down but were not continued. I was in charge of the economy as VP and brought good policies in telecommunication, power, health, and education. I discussed it with my boss and we set the plan going.
ON STAYING IN THE COUNTRY
I don’t really have a fixation on Dubai. The only time I stayed there most was during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Dubai fixation is just the creation of the media and handiwork of opposition to make people believe I like to stay in Dubai.
WELFARE OF SECURITY AGENTS
Before now, we used to see accommodation and good welfare packages provided for our security agencies. These are some of the presidential incentives I want to introduce into the Armed forces and achieve it without further delay. Secondly, how can you have the whole heads of the 17 security structures from one section and expect the country to be in peace or expect an Igbo man to be quiet. I’ll decentralize security and restructure the country.
WHETHER HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF OBASANJO
I’ve not gone to him since I emerged flag bearer but we’ve been talking. He has no better person to support than me because I’ll continue his policies.