Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Saraki, who had earlier hinted at running for the highest office in the land, told Bloomberg in an interview that he had been consulting widely.
In the last one week, the Senate president has visited ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida. Saraki said he would need to win the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to actualize his objective of leading the country. The Senate president, who defected to PDP from All Progressives Congress, APC, two weeks ago, accused the APC of not managing its victory well, saying his new party could make a difference.
He said: “I am consulting and actively considering it… I believe I can make the change. The PDP has learned its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think, unfortunately, the APC did not learn from their victory. “While negotiating with the PDP, we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. “We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.
“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too has not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and the president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.” On DSS blockade of NASS, He also spoke of Department of State Services, DSS, blockade of the National Assembly, wondering what would happen during next year’s elections. He said: “If a government can go and lock up an arm of government, and it’s never happened in our history, we should all be very concerned… we should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections.
“There has been a persistent disregard for due process and a lack of neutrality for some of these issues. For you to have credible elections, you must have safe elections. Security agencies are actively getting involved in politics. “The fundamentals of whatever we are going to develop is going to be based on sound democracy, credible elections, freedom of choice of Nigerians. If we don’t have that as a foundation, then everything else cannot happen.” Alleging that investors have lost confidence in Buhari government, the Senate president criticised the current administration’s handling of fuel subsidy. He said: “Most of the inflows that have come in are merely hot money, and that is because the oil price has gone up. “Investment in the real sector is not seen. The private sector, in my view, has probably taken a position that the confidence is not there in the government.
“If we are going to have a subsidy, we should have a budget for the subsidy. Because once we have a budget for it, the private sector can also play a role in the importation of petroleum products.”