Why Nigerians Should Consider Atiku For 2019 –Willy Ezugwu
Chief Willy Ezugwu is the Secretary-General of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP). He is also a first class traditional ruler in Enugu State as well as the Coordinator of the South-East Revival Group, and Save Enugu Group. In this interview, he speaks on Atiku Abubakar, his political choice for 2019, and other issues. Excerpts:
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria is working to evolve a third force and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is running for president, possibly on the platform of PDP. From the vantage point of being an APGA BoT member and Secretary-General of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), do you think the PDP will give the former vice president the ticket?
First of all, former President Obasanjo’s interventions in Nigerian politics have always ended in disaster and the coalition for Nigeria will lead to more problems for Nigeria. Honestly, I don’t have anything personal against Obasanjo, but he has ended up giving Nigeria more troubles than solutions. He introduced the Land Use Act and, today, the government owns our ancestral lands that you have to go to the government to get a C-of-O, which the government can revoke as it pleases. He intervened and gave us a sick man as president; it ended in a disaster, which led to the Jonathan presidency. He intervened again and gave us President Muhammadu Buhari, and today all you hear is trillions of naira budgets with nothing to show. We now pay for fuel from our nose and have no roads, no new rail projects, nothing. So, that is another Obasanjo’s intervention confronting us. Obasanjo’s third force, or whatever they call it, will end up a disaster for Nigeria if Nigerians decide to follow him again. And as for PDP, if they are serious about winning elections in 2019, they must open their eyes and know the man the people want. Go to the streets, meet young people and you will hear from them; they want Atiku as President in 2019 because they are tired of the pain they are going through now. Everybody is tired and nobody is ready to endure this kind of incompetence for the next five years if the sitting president is re-elected. These three years have shown us enough example of what APC government can do for us and we have learnt our lesson. I thank God that even the APC chairman, Oyegun, has warned his party that we are now wiser. Atiku is the bridge between the older generation and the younger generation. He is the bridge between the North and the South, because he is married to southerners and northerners and has his businesses in both the north and southern Nigeria. Above all, Alhaji Atiku wants to restructure Nigeria; he should be allowed to use one term and restructure this country so that we can live in unity and prosperity once again. The killings and heartless bloodshed is too much and five years is a long time to endure it.
You are more or less advocating for an Atiku Abubakar presidency at a time the youths are agitating for a take-over of government. Is that not contradictory?
I support the Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign and I believe that the younger generation should get more involved in politics. However, the point I will make clear is that as Nigeria stands now, with the level of systemic decay, insecurity, unemployment, increasing job losses, hunger and other challenges, we need someone who has the heart of the younger generation and the experience of the older generation who would stand as a bridge between where we are coming from and where we are going as a country. As at now, among all the politicians that have expressed intention to contest in the 2019 presidential election, none has the level of acceptance from both the younger generation and the older generation more than Atiku Abubakar. I can tell you that if you meet ten people and discuss who they want to be President in 2019, not less than 85% will tell you Atiku. Do you know how many Nigerians are working in his companies? As an individual, Atiku is creating jobs, how much more when he becomes the President? It is not about deceptive promises of 2015; it is about what you are doing now in your private capacity before seeking public office. Whose life have you changed? These are the issues at stake. Nigerians are not ready for empty promises. You must show your scorecard in private life and we will judge if you can do the job. Atiku is the person the cap fits now that Nigeria is at a crossroads, because he is a detribalised Nigerian – married to Osun State woman, Anambra State woman, Adamawa and Borno states women. He has friends and business associates across the Niger and at home in both North and South. To my mind, the youths should extract a one-term pact, signed, and sealed, with Atiku that after restructuring Nigeria in his four year-tenure he will hand over.