2019: “I can bring real change” – Saraki

Bukola Saraki has said he could be the change President Muhammadu Buhari will never be.

“I am consulting and actively considering it,” Saraki, who is presently Nigeria’s Senate President, said about a possible presidential bid.

“I believe I can make the change,” he told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Buhari won 2015 presidential election on the promise to fight corruption, ensure security, grow the economy and bring real change. But critics, including Saraki, insist Buhari’s change is fake and his anti-corruption fight insincere.

Saraki recently dumped Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) and returned to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – the party that ruled Nigeria for 16 years before the electorate bought Buhari’s change.

The Senate President had said PDP was changing while APC was becoming the old PDP. He said, if elected Nigeria’s president, he would not allow PDP sink into crisis like he believed Buhari allowed APC to.

Saraki also said Nigeria needs a president who is business oriented.

“Most of the inflows that have come in are merely hot money, and that is because the oil price has gone up,” he said.

“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,” he said.

Saraki also said the country needs a government that will strengthen, not weaken, its democracy.

“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,” he said regarding the secret police’s siege on the National Assembly.

The Presidency condemned the act and fired former DSS boss Lawal Daura over the siege but Saraki did not seem impressed adding that APC could use security agencies to rig 2019 general elections.

“We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections,” the Senate President 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.

“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,” he said.

Saraki also had some ideas for fuel subsidy.

“If we are going to have a subsidy, we should have a budget for it,” he said.

“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,” he said.

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