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Atiku faults APC’s lopsided appointments, says PDP will form government of national unity

By Kehinde Olatunji
17 November 2022   |   4:15 am
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, faulted what he described as the uneven appointment of heads of security agencies, saying it only favours people from the northern region.

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, being received by the President of Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mallam Mustapha Isah, during the arrival of Atiku for the NGE Interactive Forum in Lagos…yesterday.<br />

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, faulted what he described as the uneven appointment of heads of security agencies, saying it only favours people from the northern region.

Atiku, who noted this during an interaction with members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Lagos, said if he emerges president in 2023, every geopolitical zone would be represented in the entire security structure. He maintained that PDP would form a government of national unity.

Atiku also reiterated his resolve to concession most agencies for greater efficiency, stressing that government has no business running some of them.

He said: “PDP will form a government of national unity. In 1999, we had two presidential candidates from the south, and the PDP won resoundingly well. But we had a government of national unity.

“We had APP, AD ministers, and the country became one. This provided the peace and stability that we want. This is what I intend to do. PDP will set up a government of national unity. It is one of the ways to unite this country. Every section or geo-political zone will be carried along in appointments into every sector.

“We will unify this country. Today, we have 17 heads of the various security agencies from the north. I won’t do that. I will make sure every geopolitical zone is represented in these security outfits.”

Atiku also promised that his administration would continue with the economic policy of the PDP government between 1999 and 2007.

He said: “We will liberalise the economy and promote the private sector, to create more jobs and wealth in simple, straightforward terms.

“Liberalising the economy is broad; empowering the private sector is broad. We will continue the privatisation of our public enterprises. In other words, we will have a more private sector-driven economy.

“If you look at the thriving economies in the world, they allow the private sector to run the economy. If you see the amount of work the government has to do in terms of constructing and decongesting our ports, and railway, and you have to borrow, I will rather concession most of these projects to the private sector and give them tax incentives. This will bring progress, prosperity and peace.”

Responding to questions from editors, the former Vice President said his administration would work closely with the private sector to ensure gaps in infrastructure are closed.

He noted: “The private sector is pivotal to my agenda for rejuvenating the economy and closing our infrastructure deficit. If I am elected president, I will work closely with the private sector by giving them incentives to create more jobs and also granting them tax holidays to help them intervene in our infrastructure development.

“It is obvious to all that the government doesn’t have all the money, and the debt burden has continued to weigh us down. Therefore, the government has to be creative, and engaging the private sector is one way of solving our infrastructure problems in a sustainable way.”

Atiku also restated his commitment to constitutional amendments that will enhance the transfer of more powers and resources to other tiers of government.

The presidential candidate said it was unfortunate that a section of the media (not The Guardian) chose to misinterpret his comments during a session with the Lagos Business School Alumni Association on Tuesday.

He said: “It is rather unfortunate that a section of the media reported my remarks at an event in a way that cast doubts on my readiness to implement my restructuring agenda.”

“Let me, therefore, use the opportunity of this gathering, today, with the gatekeepers of the Nigerian media to say that my restructuring agenda is intact, and it will be implemented from my first day in office.

“Already, I have received a report from a team of constitutional law experts, which I assembled, to look into our constitution and highlight areas where there are items that can be moved to the concurrent and residual lists.

“Let me tell you that I will start work on the implementation of that report from my very first day in office if I am elected president next year.

“Devolution of power goes hand in hand with a measure of resource control but it depends on the type of power we want to devolve.”

Commending the media, Atiku said: “I want to pay tribute to the press for their role in the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. Many of you have sacrificed your life and career.”

Reminding the editors that the PDP had more women in government than the current APC administration, Atiku promised he would boost women and youth participation in governance.