Nigerian senate president and presidential hopeful Bukola Saraki said pleas from Nigerian youths spurred his decision to run for the office of president in next year’s general elections.
Saraki declared to run for president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during a public dialogue with political parties on youth candidacy and party primaries in Abuja.
The Senate president said the country’s population consisting of 70 per cent youths is assumed to translate into progress for the country, but the “dire” state of the country diminishes the youthful advantage.
”Up and down our country today, Nigerians are crying out for succour. Many of our children are hungry. Our young people lack opportunities. The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist,” Saraki said.
“We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, the youth feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation,”
“ It is with all these in mind, and taking account of the challenges that I have outlined, that I have decided to answer the call of teeming youth who have asked me to run for President. I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians,” Saraki said.
Saraki stated that “Nigerians are crying out for succour” as children are hungry, people are dying of avoidable diseases and have fallen below basic living standards as highest number of people in extreme poverty globally."
He noted that conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, lack of education and lack of opportunities push many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism which fuels the state of insecurity in the country.
The Senate President said the country’s economy is in need of urgent revival to ensure growth, saying “unemployment, business shut down and job losses are at an all-time high,”
“We must rebuild the trust of our people in government. We need a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century. We must pull this country back together and rebuild, block by block, with dedication and commitment,” Saraki said.