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2019 Election: Saraki mulls presidential bid, promises change

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The President of the Senate , Dr Bukola Saraki , has said that he is considering contesting the 2019 presidential election , adding that he believes he can “ make the change . ”Saraki , who stated this in an interview with Bloomberg , expressed concerns about the invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services .
Bloomberg quoted the Senate President as saying , “ I am consulting and actively considering it … I believe I can make the change . ”

Saraki , who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party , said all Nigerians should be concerned about the invasion of the National Assembly .

He stated , “ 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, ” Saraki said .

The Senate President said that he would not be surprised if the government used security agencies for elections. ”

According to Saraki , investors and Nigerians have lost confidence in Buhari.

He stated that Nigeria needed to be governed by a genuinely pro- business administration that would be able to tackle recurrent security issues .

Saraki 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. The country requires a government that is truly pro -business and a President that sees himself as a chief marketing officer . ”
On the involvement of security forces in political matters , Saraki said , “ 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 the politics. ”

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“ The fundamentals of whatever we are going to develop are 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 . ”

The Senate President also said that the Federal Government should make budgetary provision for fuel subsidy .

He stated , “ If we are going to have a subsidy , we should have a budget for it . Because once we have a budget for it , the private sector can also play a role in the importation of petroleum products . And if the private sector plays a role , definitely the cost of the subsidy will go down and there will be more efficiency in the delivery of products .

“ But in the environment we are in today , where it ’ s only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that ’ s doing that , it ’ s going to be inefficient , it ’ s not going to be transparent . ”

Saraki added that the PDP had learnt its lesson from its defeat in the 2015 elections. He , however , said the APC did not learn any lesson from its victory .
He stated that while his group was negotiating with the PDP , it raised a number of issues . The Senate President said , “ 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 to 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 .

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“ 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 . ”

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