Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, visited Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, to broker alliances ahead of the 2019 general elections.
This is as the immediate past governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, also yesterday visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at Government House, Port Harcourt, where he declared his interest to contest the 2019 presidential election.
In an interaction with journalists, Atiku said he was in the state to discuss his ambition with Governor Fayose, who he described as “a force to reckon with in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and someone who calls the shots and when he does so, we all take the cue.”
Speaking on the forthcoming general elections, Atiku advised the electorate not to return the All Progressives Congress (APC) to power as according to him, “APC has failed this country.
That party is not the solution to our country’s challenges.” He commended Fayose for his warm reception, adding: “Since my return home to PDP, this is the first state I am visiting for consultations with party leaders.
This is not surprising as Fayose and I had struck a good relationship since his first tenure as governor and I was VP.” He further said: “He (Fayose) is blunt and straightforward, a sharpshooter in politics and I respect him for these. But above all, he is also the chairman of our Governors’ Forum.
Today among the governors and the party generally, he calls the shots and when he does so, we all take the cue.
“I have visited this state severally, what I have observed is monumental development in terms of infrastructure in the state and the quality of life of the people.
But as a politician, anywhere we were driving along the road, from Akure he was receiving cheers all through, while the road from Akure to Ekiti was bad that from Ekiti into the state is splendid.
“I have seen what you have achieved and your footprints are all over the state capital, I commend you for that and for your leadership, I believe you have quite a lot to offer our country.
Another unique thing the governor has done is telling me that his deputy is being supported as the party’s candidate in the next election; this is a very rare feat in the democratic system of our country.
How many deputy governors have succeeded their governors? “It means that Fayose has foresight and wants someone to continue his good works, and I hope if you have the opportunity by the grace of God he will continue the good works.
I am coming back to campaign with you (Fayose) for the 2018 governorship poll.” Responding, the Ekiti governor described Atiku’s ambition as “legitimate and a welcome development.”
He explained that he was expecting the former vice president to discuss his presidential ambition with him privately as other aspirants would do. Fayose however assured that the interest of the party would be placed above individual aspirations in supporting any aspirant.
His words: “He (Atiku) has not spoken to me privately about it, may be he would do that in our private meeting. But his body language obviously shows he has an ambition which is legitimate. We will all examine everybody and we will ensure a level playing ground. As he has come, others will still come.
“On the issue of being vice president, like I said in the Book of Ezekiel 37: 33, the Bible says God asks that can this bone live, and the prophet answered: Thou Knoweth.
So, all these questions are questions for God and He has answers to them, ordinary man does not. “You may wish anything for me, but God’s wish is supreme. I deserve to serve this country as president. I have paid my dues. I am not a hidden voice.
I have all it takes to lead this country, but whichever way it goes, the interest of our party comes first; it is above our individual aspirations. Whoever the party finally picks as candidate would be supported by others.”
Lamido, who said he was in Rivers State to inform Wike of his intention to vie for the position of president, declared that he has the capacity to revive the country’s fortune
He noted that he decided to present himself to take over in 2019 because the nation deserves to move forward. He described the ruling APC as a party of hate and deceit, which should be sacked in 2019.
He said that if given the opportunity to lead Nigeria, he has the capacity to unite Nigeria and set it on the path of growth.
His words: “I want to run because I feel I can do it. I have the pedigree. We stand to fight for democracy and the restoration of Nigeria.” Lamido also pledged to work with other leaders of the PDP to transform the country for the good of the people.
In his response, Wike said that the country is in a coma and that only the PDP can salvage it, just as he described the APC as a party of strangers with no knowledge of the intricacies of development.