Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar Thursday in Abuja said he has over 11 million ready votes to hoist the Peoples Democratic Party onto victory in next year’s election if he emerges as its Presidential candidate in May’s primary.
He also asked the party’s leadership to grant him the right of first refusal for the 2023 ticket.
Atiku said this to the PDP National Working Committee at the Wadata Plaza national secretariat when he formally acquaint the leadership with his decision to contest for the presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 elections.
Making a case for his candidacy, the presidential aspirant said he already had 11 million sure votes to grant PDP the victory next year and, therefore, should be handed the ticket.
Atiku who urged the NWC to ensure the emergence of only the best candidate promised to work for the devolution of powers to the states and unify the country if given the opportunity.
According to him: “Mr. Chairman and members of the National Working Committee, I’m really not here to lecture you, I’m just really here to inform you of my decision, to run again, and also to urge you to provide the right kind of leadership so that the best candidate can emerge.
“And I dare say Mr. Chairman, I am the best candidate. Under normal circumstances Mr. Chairman, this is a guy who already has 11 million votes in his kitty. And I think, as a party, you should give me the right of first refusal but we are in a democracy.
“All that I can urge you to do is to make sure that the way you have started, you also conclude the way you have started by being very fair, very credible, giving every contestant the opportunity to face the electorate.”
The Wazirin Adamawa added that when given the mandate to run, he would not be a Muhammadu-Buhari type of President.
He alleged that a Buhari presidency is incapable of directing Ministries, Agencies, and Departments on what to do to squash the country’s security woes.
“About two months ago, I was on a visit to Niger State and I decided to pay a courtesy call to the governor.
“The governor told me, Sir, we have about 12 local governments, which are under the control of bandits. We don’t know how to conduct elections in those local governments. And I went to the President, I said, Mr. President, we need more policemen and the President said how can I give you more policemen when the inspector general of police and the police service commission is in court on who will recruit policemen?’
“I cannot be that kind of President. And that is where we are today. We cannot recruit policemen because the two agencies are in court and we have a president who cannot bring under control his own heads of departments, not even ministers?” he queried.
In his remarks, Ayu who cited his genial relationship with the former vice president vowed to work for all 17 presidential aspirants and allow the delegates to decide the flagbearer.
He said: “Let me acknowledge the fact that you and I have been close friends for more than 30 years. We were key players in the Social Democratic Party and key players in the emergence of chief MKO Abiola. An election that was free and fair. From there we have been walking politically together.
“So, you are a presidential aspirant today. But I want people to know that you are still my friend. I can’t deny you. I’m saying this to make it clear to those who say, ‘Oh, because of my personal relationship with you, as chairman, I’ll work for you.’
“Mr. Vice President, I will not work for you as an aspirant. I will work for all the 17 aspirants. It is left to you to convince the delegates of our party that you are the best. You have to market yourself, you have to work hard.”