Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, officially declared for the presidency, saying next year’s election presents Nigerians an important opportunity to choose hope over hopelessness.
He said while the country’s recent trajectories were nothing to write home about, Nigerians must not be despair but rise up collectively in choosing the right leader for the country during the 2023 presidential election.
The former Kwara State governor stated this at his presidential media parly in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “2023 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”.
He added that he will invest in skills acquisition for youths, ensure all security personnel is well renumerated, tackle insecurity, and provide favourable healthcare packages for Nigerians among others.
The Peoples Democratic Party aspirant also promised to develop policies that will keep professionals in the country and prevent brain drain.
Reasons I want to become president – Saraki
“I want to be President because I believe that this Nigeria is still possible in our lifetime. As long as there is a child in Nigeria that cannot read or write, then the job is not done. And it is for this one child that I want to run for President, because I will ensure that the law on compulsory basic education is enforced and quality of teaching improves in all public schools.
“As long as there is an old woman in this country who cannot afford her prescription drugs for diabetes or malaria because she has no insurance coverage, the job is not done. And it is for this woman that I want to run for President, because I will ensure that people like her are covered; and that we are able to push our compulsory health insurance coverage from the current 7 per cent to 50 per cent in the first two years.
“As long as a single village or forest in this country is controlled by terrorists, or bandits or any other criminal groups; as long as any of our citizen lives in fear; as long as our soldiers and other security agents do not get the right training, the right equipment and the right incentives, the job is not done. And it is for these citizens that I want to be President, because I will do everything to protect the lives and properties of every Nigerian and everyone that live within our borders. I will ensure that all our men and women in uniform are well-trained, are well-paid and are well-equipped.
“As long as crude oil revenue remains the mainstay of our economy, and we remain so vulnerable to the volatility of international oil market, then the job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will raise the revenue from the non-oil sectors to the same level as we currently earn from oil.
“As long as there are still people in this country who believe that they can break the laws of Nigeria with impunity; who think that crime has no consequences, then the job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will ensure strict compliance with the rule of law and guarantee consequences for crime.
“As long as we still import tilers, plumbers and electricians from neighboring countries, then the job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will collaborate with the industries, and train one million of our youths in technical and vocational skills each year.
“As long as 65 million of our citizens still live in slum conditions in our cities and urban centers, then the job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will deliver half a million affordable housing units every year to our low-income earners and eliminate urban slums.
“As long as Nigeria is not the tech hub for Africa, despite our incredible talents in this area, then our job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will invest massively in skills in cloud computing, data analytics, programming and other such in-demand skills to drive innovation and competitiveness among our youths.
“As long as our huge army of talented youths do not think that the Nigerian government can support their dreams, whether in entertainment, fashion or other creative business, the job is not done. And it is for these talented Nigerians that I want to be President, because I will create the Nigeria Creative Industry Initiatives to protect our leadership position on the African continent and position us to be global leader in the cultural productions economy.
“As long as our university lecturers still have reasons to embark on strike actions; as long our universities still rank outside the top 1000 in the world, then our job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will ensure that our universities and higher education institutions are competitive and well-funded, adopting models and approaches that have served the most successful higher education systems in the world.
“As long as some of our best and brightest brains still relocate to other countries to find fulfillment, then our job is not done. And this is why I want to be President, because I will develop targeted incentives to reverse the brain drain and keep our professionals in the country.