Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar has said that there is little or nothing that can be achieved in a country that is sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines.
The former vice president at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association’s Annual General Conference held at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, promised to give a sense of belonging to each and every Nigerian if he is elected president in 2023.
The conference with the theme ‘Bold Transitions’ began on Monday and will run until August 26.
Atiku spoke on a panel session immediately after the Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi; amongst other panellists.
Atiku, while on stage, expressed worries over Nigeria’s current situation, saying that it has never been this bad.
‘’Nigeria has never found itself in such a critical juncture in our history. Today, we have all the negative indices as far as our beloved Nigeria is concerned.
‘’Today, we are more disunited as a nation. We have never experienced this level of poverty. We have never experienced this state of insecurity. We have never experienced this level of unemployment.
‘’We have recognized all these negative developments in our history. What is important is how we tackle these challenges.
‘’This is where history and experience beckons on us to make sure that we don’t get it wrong at this point in time otherwise, I don’t know when we will ever get it right.’’
He also spoke of his struggle for the return of Nigeria to democracy and how many of his fellow activists died in the struggle.
‘’I have been in the struggle to return democracy to since the military days. In fact, I can even say that I am lucky to be alive. So many of my contemporaries have been murdered. But by the grace of God, I have survived until this point in time.
‘’That is why in my brief introduction I stated that any leadership irrespective of political party must confront five issues.
The unity of our country is very fundamental. How do we achieve the unity of our country? It is by making sure that we give every part of this country a sense of belonging.
‘’And some people ask how we are going to do it. I refer them back to the situation we found our country in 1998/1999 when we came into office. As the PDP party, we won overwhelmingly. We could form our government just based on the majority. But we decided to shelve the majority and say every political party must be part of our administration and we formed a government of national unity. No sooner than we formed the government of national unity there was calm in the country.
‘’After the calm, what next? The issue of the economy and security came in. But because we had a government of consensus, there was no problem dealing with the subsequent challenges.
‘’We have had an experience and it is that experience that we must bring back. It is only when there’s a sense of belonging that we can be able to deal with the issues of security.
‘’It is when you deal with the issue of security you can deal with the economy. My five points that I enumerated are all interrelated.’’