From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has advised President Mohammadu Buhari to take the initiative and involve the opposition parties, international friends and other stakeholders in finding lasting solution to the insecurity and other socioeconomic challenges confronting the nation.
Saraki gave the advice on Tuesday while speaking to journalists shortly after a close door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, which lasted for two hours.
He called for a concerted effort to put an end to myriads of problems facing Nigeria, saying the insecurity challenges in the country are beyond the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Saraki, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reconciliation and Strategic Committee, arrived Obasanjo’s Pent House residence, inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta at about 12:12p.m and immediately went into a close door meeting with the former President.
Accompanied by former governors, Ibrahim Dankwanbo (Gombe), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Shehu Sema (Katsina) and former Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande Adeola, the former Senate President urged Buhari to tackle insecurity with all the seriousness it deserves.
“These are issues that cross party lines and what is required now, is for government to provide leadership in bringing all stakeholders together. Let us discuss and see how we can address some of these issues”, he noted.
Saraki also charged political leaders to shelve their ambition as well as their selfish interest and come together on a round table in discussing and finding solution the country’s challenges.
“I think what is important for us now as I keep on repeating is that these issues are issues that should involve everybody. I think that when we talk about kidnapping, when we talk about sense of belonging, these are issues that cut across part lines and what is required now is for government to provide leadership in bringing all stakeholders together. Let us discuss and see how we can address some of these issues.
“We are very hopeful for the future of this country, we are very hopeful that everybody will have a sense of belonging. I think it is important that we all must be able to be on the table and discuss.
“We can tap into a lot of resources, even on the issue of security, there are lot of people with a lot of experience that we can make use of.
“My advice to government this time is that this problem is a huge problem that cannot be left to just the government and the ruling party, I think this is the time the opposition, the ruling party, our international friends, the private we for and all of us must come together on the round table because the challenges before us are enormous and we need to address them.
“As we talk about lots of politicians, we talk about 2023, we still have two years before that and it is our responsibility that all of us to see that during those two years we all work to address that, but the initiative must come from the government. I think once government does that, then my own advice is that everybody that has something to contribute should be able to come together and see how people will have a sense of belonging. Part of that sense of belonging is to be on the table to be able to discuss way forward for this country”. He stated.
Saraki, however, expressed the optimism that the PDP would soon resolve its crisis, noting “I think that we are making some progress, there are people who were not ready to sit on the same table to discuss, we have been able to achieve that. We have given more time for ourselves in trying to do that and we are hopeful that in this month of March, we will begin to see a lot of progress, that will unite the party and with that unity will be also be able to bring in more membership to our party.”
He also denied the report of planned removal of PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, describing it as “a mere propaganda”.
Speaking on the meeting with Obasanjo, Saraki said, “We told him (Obasanjo) what we are trying to do, to reposition the party, we told him how important that is, the project Nigeria and he told us his commitment to Nigeria, that he will never shirk away from that responsibility to have a better Nigeria.
“Of course, like we all know that he (Obasanjo) not partisan at the moment, his focus in on Nigeria, not on party and that he repeated to us”.