By G9ija

Former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday, formally declared his presidential ambition adding that he joined the race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to fill the leadership gap required to take Nigeria to its full potential.

He said this at a media breakfast meeting in Abuja.

In his remarks, the presidential hopeful said: “I’m running to end the reign of impunity, insecurity and terror. The stake has never been higher, what we have today is not our country; it is certainly not the Nigeria of our founding fathers.

“In our lifetime, we have witnessed a Nigeria where we would leave Lagos at night and arrive Maiduguri in the morning without fear.

“For all that we have experienced in the last couple of years, the 2023 Presidential election looms large as another watershed moment in our political history.

“We must all acknowledge that some things have happened in this country in the last couple of years that no one could have imagined possible only less than a decade ago.

“2023 therefore presents us with a great moment of decision: the moment to choose hope over hopelessness; the moment to choose peace and security over fear and terror; the moment to choose unity and inclusion over division and exclusion; the moment that we draw a bold line in the sands of history and say, “no more,” and then move ahead as one people, as one nation, towards our God-assigned destiny as the greatest black nation on the face of the earth.”

Saraki further said while we Nigerians, we all have reasons to be worried about the future of our country, “this is not the time to surrender and wallow in despair.”

He said: “Rather, this is the moment, when all patriots and citizens of goodwill must show courage, rise above those lines of divisions that have kept us apart over the years and ask this very important question: ‘where do we go from here?”

In an apparent response to insinuations that his privileged background will isolate him from reality, he said: “I do not have a grass to grace story to tell. Some may even consider me privileged. But I never take my privileges for granted.

“I learned as a young boy growing up under the watchful guidance of a father who loved this country so dearly that to whom much is given, much is expected.

“Therefore, I can say that even the privileges of my childhood were easily matched by a dominant culture of giving, created by a father whose politics was defined by a deep commitment to helping and uplifting others.

“I learned from him that life is truly worth living only when it is lived in the service of something that is bigger than yourself.

“I decided to become a doctor because of this ingrained desire to help and to serve others. And when in 1999, I joined government as Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, I became even more acutely aware of the limitless possibilities for service through government; and of how political power in the hands of a committed, competent and courageous leadership can solve real problems and uplift the destiny of a nation and her people.

“It was this same realization that motivated me to contest and win election as the Governor of Kwara State in 2003.

“Even back then, many did not give me a chance to succeed. They thought I was too young and too much of a political neophyte to make an impact.

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“He is private sector and privileged’, they said. “So how would he understand what the poor people in the state want or what they are going through?.

“But I believe I proved them wrong in the end. Armed with a deep passion to serve, and to make a difference, I did my best to impact lives and to leave a lasting legacy.

“I did not solve all the problems, but in eight years I left Kwara State better than I met it. We were able to confront old problems with new and innovative solutions.

“We implemented bold education reforms that brought children back to school, and improved the quality of teaching across the state.

“In all the positions that I have had the good fortune to occupy, I have been driven by the deep conviction to serve, to help, to proffer solutions and to leave behind a legacy of courage, of hard work and of unyielding commitment to making a difference.”

On what his plans are for Nigeria if elected he said: “Here is what will make the difference. I will do what I have always done: I will arrive in the office with a well-thought-out plan of my own; I will implement my plans with courage and conviction; and I will work every single day as if it would be my last.

“You may also ask; how long would it take to solve all these problems? I agree, the problems that we face are so many and so daunting that we may not solve them all in the lifetime of a presidency or even in our lifetime.

“But that is not the point. The point is not whether we would be able to solve all the problems; or whether I possess a magic wand that will turn our country into a paradise overnight.

“The point is that we can be the generation that starts it all. We can be the turning point generation; in whose time everything began to change.

“The generation that, despite our differences, we are able to unite against poverty and hunger, because poverty and hunger spare no tribe or religion.

“We can be the generation that is ashamed to be labelled as the poverty capital of the world; and therefore, commit itself to do whatever it takes to remove this badge of dishonour on our country.”