Senate President Bukola Saraki has responded to a statement by the Not Too Young To Run movement in reaction to the declaration of his intention to run for the presidency in 2019.
His response was contained in a statement signed on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, a day after the movement condemned his action.
Senator Saraki said his action was not to put the group in any position but that he made the declaration in good faith.
“It is true that the Not Too Young To Run leadership had no prior knowledge of the content of the Senate President’s remarks,” the statement said.
“However, the announcement by the Senate President that he intends to throw his hat into the ring to contest for the Presidency was made in good faith to young PDP aspirants, partly as a symbolic act of encouragement.
“It was not the intent of the Senate President to put the group or its leadership in an invidious position,” it added.
The Senate President explained that the occasion where he declared his intention to run for the presidency was first in a series of dialogues organised by the Not Too Young To Run along party lines.
He said the first was for young aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the subsequent ones were designed for those of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other parties.
Senator Saraki, however, appreciated the contribution of Not Too Young To Run to the development of the nation’s democracy.
He promised to continue working closely with young people across the country, in order to make Nigeria a better place for all citizens.
The Senate President had announced that he was joining the race for the presidency in the 2019 elections while delivering a keynote address at an event organised by the Not Too Young To Run Movement on Thursday in Abuja.
The group swiftly issued a statement and dissociated itself from Saraki’s declaration. They noted that they had no prior knowledge of the declaration.
It said it was shocked that the lawmaker would usurp a platform for youth engagement with political parties to declare his candidacy.