Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar Baring any last minute changes, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar will wednesday formally declare his intention to contest for the presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The presidential bid by the former vice-president got a boost yesterday with the endorsement of the South-west arm of the APC for his candidacy.
According to a statement issued by his media office in Abuja, Atiku would make his formal declaration at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja this morning. The statement said activities marking the declaration would be a largely youth-focused event to emphasise his passion for the challenges facing young men and women in Nigeria.
It said youth economic empowerment is one of Atiku’s cardinal objectives, adding that he regards them as the fulcrum around which the development and future of Nigeria revolves. “In particular, the former vice-president is concerned about rising youth unemployment and would focus his policy objectives on the development of entrepreneurial skills for our youths so that they don’t have to depend entirely on the limited, if not elusive, government jobs,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a caucus of the APC in the South-west zone has endorsed Atiku as the presidential candidate of the party in the 2015 presidential election. The caucus, known as the Atiku Abubakar Collectives, announced its endorsement of the former vice-president at an interactive session with him tuesday.
The group, which has members drawn from the six states of the South-west region and Kogi State, and is led by Chief Bode Ajewole, said its endorsement of Atiku was predicated on the former vice-president being the most experienced among all the likely contenders for the ticket of the party.
According to Ajewole, “Atiku has shown that he has the capacity to restore the unity, peace and prosperity of our great country. At such a time as this when our country is at the threshold of disharmony, fuelled by mutual suspicion along ethnic and religious line, we need a strong leadership. A strong leadership by a bridge-builder; someone who understands the intricate nature of our geopolitics and strengthens the bonds of our unity as a people who share a common hope in Nigeria is what we need.”
Responding to the endorsement, Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Professor Babalola Borishade, said it was important for the former vice-president’s supporters to engage everyone within the APC and mobilise support for him to emerge as the standard bearer of the party. According to him, “Our focus now is how we can win the primaries of the party. In doing so, we have to tread very carefully. The strategies for each state are different. I understand that some of you are national delegates of the party, but what is important is to build the momentum in the party that will make our candidate emerge victorious and avoid being confrontational with other contestants.”