Segun Showunmi is the spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation. He speaks on why aspiring candidate Atiku deserves the presidential ticket of the PDP
Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Mr. Segun Showunmi is the spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation. He speaks on why his principal deserves the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the stealing going on in the NNPC under the All Progressives Congress-led (APC) government and other issues of national interest.
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Why do you think your principal deserves the PDP Presidential ticket in 2019 elections?
Your question should be why he deserves to be Nigeria’s President. There are times in life that one need to be excited and there are times one need to be very sober. The question you asked this morning is one of those times that produce the need to be sober, honest, truthful and measured. First of all, we are Nigerians. We all have our opinion about this country and we are hopeful that Nigeria can be great again. We extremely blessed with human and natural resource. We don’t face natural disasters like hurricane, volcano, earthquake and several others. We have good weather that is favourable. But the challenge we have had as a country of about 190 million people is how do we create and build a nation that we would be proud of, a great and prosperous nation that we could bequeath to our children and generations unborn. Unfortunately, that is not the story with Nigeria. The incompetence and shortcomings of the present administration has added to the socioeconomic and political backwardness in today’s Nigeria. All these increased the desire of Atiku Abubakar to rescue Nigeria. Today’s Nigeria needs someone with composite experience in political leadership and other ways. He must have civil service experience so he could be able to manage the bureaucracy in the service. The disadvantage is that it slows down government official activities. We have the need for someone who could also manage the private sector with speed, accuracy, efficiency, profit and general stability. The capacity and extra gift of Atiku made him the ideal presidential candidate for Nigeria in 2019. He has been deeply involved in the Nigeria’s political system and he understands the peculiarity of our democracy very good. He has built consensus, and a nationalist that has the ears of the people.
Many other Nigerians have same qualities like Atiku. What are his chances in this contest?
I laugh in the combination of Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Swahili to this question. There are many Nigerians but he has unique political qualities that distinguished him from others. Many of the aspirants cannot generate exciting emotions outside of their zone. Some of them are just looking at presidency like ambition; they cannot articulate what they want to do with the opportunity. Nigeria needs a leader that has a global reputation. Atiku is obviously better than other aspirants including the opposition aspirants. He has a bigger vision for Nigeria. None of the Presidential aspirants could challenge Buhari in the 2019 election and succeed. Atiku is the only person that could do that. It will be unwise for PDP to bring an unpopular candidate to challenge the incumbent President. That would be disastrous. He is open to fresh ideas and he believes that all the tribes should bring ideas to the discussion table so we could collectively and extensively discuss and appease all worrying factions.
What campaign messages would Atiku sell to Nigerians?
Structural reform will top on our list. It would give more power to states and help realise their potentials. Lot of states in Nigeria relies solely on the resources from Abuja to pay salaries and other things. It ought not to be so. They should be able to utilise their human and natural resources to boost their financial status. Job creation is at center of Atiku’s agenda. He understands that unemployment and insecurity are the greatest challenge in Nigeria. One leads to another. If people are not gainfully employed they would be available for crime and that would disrupt the economy. Atiku is always interested in business proposal that would create jobs. He has repeatedly shown interest in promoting enabling environment for businesses. He understands the economy of the world and how to use government structures transform the society and create wealth opportunities for the people. Atiku is the only leader that knows the economic integration policies for West Africa and could comfortably articulate it without reference to a book. He understands the movement of the goods and services among the western African countries. Not only that. Nigeria need a leader that understands African and global economy, and could make big economy block out of
West Africa. He must understand that West Africa must be in competition with Asia or demand a bigger portion of the market side from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Nigeria is faced with serious security challenges. Does your principal have answers to it?
Atiku is deeply concerned as regards the unending killings by herdsmen in different parts of Nigeria. He has repeatedly suggested a complete overhaul of the internal security architecture of Nigeria. However, he has concluded plans to enter entire Nigeria into what he called Low Energy Imaging Satellite (LEIS) that would afford the government opportunity to seat in a control room and monitor every living being at any part of Nigeria at a resolution of real time pictures and quality video. The footages could be played back at all times to pull out information that were entered into the system. With that, every crime could be traced and detected. Atiku will ensure that there is biometric information of all Nigerian citizens attached to verifiable information. President Buhari failed Nigerians woefully and that led to the level deaths being recorded in Nigeria every day. If we had interrogated Buhari carefully in 2015, we wouldn’t have been in this mess. He confused all Nigerians with his own thought that some people are more important and precious than the others. He ran us into problem when he started looking at national issues from the prison of Daura, his hometown. He believes that if you are not from Daura, then you cannot be considered as someone who has something to offer in this country. Atiku is not like that. He has his presence registered across Nigeria. He has all it takes to get all of us to love Nigeria again. All we need is to take possession of this agenda, own it and then see the possibility.
Similar promises were made in 2015 and none was fulfilled. What is the guarantee that won’t be deceived again?
Those that managed the narratives of the 2014/2015 presidential elections did not measure their words. They made promises that they never meant. You can never hear any of such grandeur promises from Atiku. What you will hear often is his plans and roadmap that would herald great transformation in Nigeria. Atiku cannot make careless promises to electorate as was the case in 2015. We knew that those that made all the careless statement and promises in 2015 never had the intention of fulfilling them. And that was why they failed to honour the invitation for debate. Atiku is ready for any presidential debate at anytime. We even suggest that it be done in stages, that is his spokesman versus ours, their campaign director versus ours; their women leader versus ours, and so on. We will defeat them on all angles because we are truthful and diligent. Atiku is here to serve the interest of the people with every opportunity God has given him and the platform from the people.
Does your principal have plans for NNPC which is the main source of revenue for Nigeria?
Atiku has been asking questions as regards oil business in Nigeria. And at the last check, he was yet to get answers. For instance, Brazil doesn’t have a national body that manages its oil resources and they are doing absolutely well in oil business.
Do you suggest NNPC be scrapped?
NNPC that has caused more embarrassment for Nigeria, we have no refineries of our own in spite of huge financial resources from the sale of oil. States government and NNPC fight every month because of non remittance of adequate revenue from NNPC. The worst is that Nigerian government could not account for its subsidy payment. We seem to be running ‘an unseen before mega corruption’ underneath the President Buhari who is the minister of petroleum and his brother Maikanti Baru who is the NNPC GMD, both of them doing what they like with our resources. However, Nigeria doesn’t need a corporation that would manage its oil resources. If Brazil could figure out a way to manage its oil resources successfully without cooperation, then it is time for us to do same to our system. Let me inform those that want to sustain the era of feeding bottle economy, that Atiku’s presidency would not sustain that.
How do we trust Atiku to actualise these promises?
He is someone with unquestionable credibility. And he has proven that several times. He has promised to run a government that would provide quarterly state of the nation account. He will engage Nigerians that gave him the mandate and feed them with detailed state of the nations address.