Atiku declares 2015 presidential bid, says 'change is needed'


Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar formally announced on Friday morning that he will contest for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2015 presidential elections.

In a statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, his media adviser, Atiku announced that he will make a declaration for the ticket on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 in Abuja.

Though the venue of the declaration was not announced in the statement, PM NEWS gathered that it may take place at either Eagle Square, Abuja or Shehu Yar’adua Centre.

“This is not about me, it is about our young people. It is about Nigerians. It is their future, not the past. It is about reforming government, securing the people and reconciling the nation,” Atiku said of the reasons behind his presidential ambition.

“Turaki is of the view that 2015 is special and a potential turning point in Nigeria’s history – that we need to seize the moment, to give every Nigerian a chance to help redefine Nigeria as a place for them and their children to prosper and feel safe,” the statement read.

“He says a change is needed now, and he is ready to lead that change,” the former Vice President was further quoted as saying.

It was also revealed in the statement that Atiku campaign for the APC presidential ticket will be anchored by a veteran of successful presidential contests and a former Minister, Professor Babalola Borishade.

Borishade was described as a “a well-known political strategist who worked for the victory of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and thereafter, late Chief M. K. O. Abiola on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP. Borisade also worked as the strategist for President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003 elections, both of which were won resoundingly.”

PM NEWS had reported last Wednesday that Atiku Abubakar was meeting with his political associates preparatory to his formal declaration of his interest in the presisential ticket of APC.

As part of the preparation, the former VP has been meeting with the different support groups campaigning for him and has asked them to collapse their structures into few entities to make the numbers more managable.

Atiku is putting pressure on the Peoples Democratic Movement, a party believed to be established by some of his associates to collapse its structure into APC.

One of the support groups, Turaki Vanguard, has already began nationwide sensitisation tour across the country ahead of the declaration.

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A statement by Mr Soji Bamidele, National Secretary Publicity of the organisation, said the tour would begin with the five states in the northeast of the country.

The tour, according to the statement, will be led by Chief Oladimeji Fabiyi, the organisation’s National President.

Oladimeji would meet with the zonal caucus leaders, the state and local government coordinators and their secretaries on the importance of sensitising the electorate to voting for the party and candidates that can deliver.

The statement noted that the focus of the campaign was to express the concern of the organisation on the rot in the governance.

The organisation will advocate for genuine commitment to food security, financial empowerment, security of lives and property and good transport system, among others.

“The attention is focused on the northeast because it has lost more lives and property directly or indirectly as a result of unchecked and preventable action and or inaction of the political leaders,” he said.

During the tour, the statement said the organisation would also hold sessions with media and other stakeholders on the need to focus on party, personalities and their programmes.

APC has announced that it will commence the process of picking its presidential flag-bearer through direct modified primaries in October.

The presidential election holds February 14. Atiku was the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress, AC in 2007.

But lost to the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In 2011, Atiku contested the PDP presidential primaries, but lost to the incumbent president. Atiku defected to APC in February 2014.

Apart from Atiku, other members of APC believed to be nursing presidential ambition include former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwakawaso and his Imo State counterpart, Chief Rochas Okorocha.