The former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has Tuesday, September 23, 2014 urged Nigerians to see him as a brand Atiku, during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
According to him, he had used the period he has been out of power to study the challenges faced by the nation and proffer possible solutions.
“As I have already indicated, I will be offering myself as a candidate under the platform of my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the former Vice President said. “If anything, I want you to see me as a new Atiku. I was in government from 1999 to 2007 and I always thank my God that it did not continue. I have had a break.”
He added that if he had proceeded to becoming the president without the break, he wouldn’t have become the new Atiku that he now is.
Reacting to the allegations of corruption leveled against him, he said that his political opponents were trying to drag his image to the mud.
In his words, “I have not been charged for corruption; I am the most investigated Nigerian today. All these investigations revealed nothing, so it is a question of perception. I am capable of running a corruption free economy. Corruption can always be tackled by deploying political will and building institutions to deal with it. No administration has done that in the country better than our administration.”
He further added that anti-corruption institutions set up to deal with corruption during their administration was a bold step towards curbing corruption in the nation.
According to him, most people charged to court on the grounds of corruption were charged during their own administration.
Furthermore, Atiku had this to say concerning the EFCC draft, “Then again the records have to be put right that the draft of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) we wanted was a tougher EFCC than what the national assembly approved, they watered it , we wanted a tougher EFCC.
“When it was eventually approved I even went out of my way because there was no appropriation for the agency to borrow money from a government agency to enable EFCC function effectively pending when the national assembly will appropriate money for the agency.”
He concluded that no administration in Nigeria could boast of doing what their administration did in the history of democracy.
Speaking on his inconsistency in membership of political parties, Atiku said it is the parties that has been inconsistent with him. He said he was not aware of any contestant planning to give up on APC mentioning strongly that the likes of Rabiu , General Muhammadu Buhari. He emphatically stated that APC is his permanent political party as far as Nigerian politics is concerned.
On his intentions for the youths, Atiku said he will pay attention to matters affecting the youths being the future leaders, as 50 to 70 percent of our population are made up of youths. He revealed that they were trying to work alongside youths to ensure smooth generational transfer. He said he has been keeping up with most of the Nigerian youths on the social media which has a larger number of them. In his words, “ I have interacted with the youths on the social media . They are very much on social media and it is dominated by the youths. It is extremely important to engage the youths so that we can understand their thinking and what they want and what they expect from politicians.”
While concluding, Atiku said that previously, politicians always assumed and did what they felt the masses wanted but that they want to introduce a different way of ruling the people by engaging them in open interactions to find out their expectations from the leaders and politicians.