I'm 'Actively Considering' Running For President, Says Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki says he has been “consulting and actively considering” running for President in 2019.
Saraki, who faces a battle to retain his position at the Senate following his defection to the opposition party, said this in an interview with Bloomberg held at his Abuja residence on Tuesday and published on Wednesday.
Asked by the paper if he was running, Saraki said: “I am consulting and actively considering it. I believe I can make the change.”
Saraki also spoke on the siege to the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS), saying: “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. We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections.
“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 is 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.”
Saraki also discussed a number of national issues. On the periodically-debated matter of fuel subsidies, he said: “If we are going to have a subsidy, we should have a budget for it — 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 Corp. that’s doing that, it’s going to be inefficient, it’s not going to be transparent.”
On his return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he said: “The PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think unfortunately the APC did not learn from their victory.
“While negotiating with the PDP, we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.
“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.”