Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday in a media chat organized by the United Nigeria Group, said that the elite in Nigeria are against him becoming president because they feel he has an independent mind.
According to Atiku, there were fears in certain quarters that it would be difficult to manipulate him if he became the president.
Atiku, when asked about why someone in his capacity is not getting elected, said; “It is what I call the conspiracy theory of the political elite. If you are not going to be used, if you are not going to satisfy their personal aspiration, then, they will think you are not good enough.
“Part of the problem they have with me is that they say I am independent, principled and so on.
“Honestly, it is the conspiracy of the political elite and unfortunately the Nigeria public is not politically sophisticated to override the conspiracy of the political elite. They rely on the political elite to direct them.”
The former Vice President urged Nigerians to dismiss insinuations that his reputation for defecting from one political party to the other should count against him, saying that the consistency of his belief and his vision for Nigeria and Nigerians should be rather considered.
Atiku also added that his experience in politics is an advantage for him over other presidential aspirants in the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I want the job of the President of Nigeria because more than any other time since the time of our democracy, I think we need a leadership that has the experience, that has the capacity and the know-how.
“The most challenging issue in the country today is the issue of unemployment and creation of jobs, unity in the country and states. I believe I am more suitable to handle all these.
“As a civil servant, I worked for over 20 years in the federal bureaucracy and as a politician, I served successfully for eight years as the Vice-President and in that position I chaired the economic team of that administration and I brought so many innovations to our administration that led to the creation of jobs, creation of wealth and prosperity as well as relative peace and stability.
“Nigeria lost a lot of foreign investments under Buhari.”
He further condemned the economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that they scared investors away.
“I have not seen Nigeria in such a bad shape. Our unemployment rate is the highest. Our growth is at its lowest ebb. When this administration took over, we were growing our Gross Domestic Product at six per cent. They took it over and crashed it totally. We are trying to come out of this recession at about 1.6 per cent growth.
“Consider the growth of our population. It is dangerous for any country for its economic growth to be below its population growth. That is the danger that is facing our country today.”
He said that in 1999 when he was Vice President, he chaired the PDP administration’s economic team which promoted the flow of foreign investments into the country and expanded the private sector participation in government.
“If these policies, which were started had been continued, we would not be at this juncture today. As you know that some of our programmes in privatisation were discontinued for almost six years and also the foreign direct investments’ incentives that we started were not continued. I believe that we need someone who will start again all these policies so that we can bring back our prosperity, create jobs for our unemployed men and women who are currently in a very bad shape,” Atiku said.