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2011 PRESIDENCY: WHY I'M CONTESTING – SHEKARAU

By NBF News

Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, yesterday formally declared his intention to pick the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential ticket for the 2011 election.

Shekarau declaration came just as posters of another ANPP stalwart and former National Republican Convention (NRC) presidential candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, flooded the Abuja metropolis as an aspirant for the same exalted seat.

Giving explanation on the development in a telephone chat, Tofa disclosed that his loyalists who came for the party national convention, which had since been postponed and 'some of them who are still in Abuja might have used their initiative to paste the posters, ahead of Mallam Shekarau's declaration. There is no ill motive. That's the beauty of democracy,' Tofa told Daily Sun.

Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, on his part, noted that time had come to put an end to what he called transactional politics which had undermined the nation's growth and settle for transformational politics, which he assured ANPP supporters his presidency would offer.

'Fellow compatriots, 50 years is a long time, it is two full generations. It is long enough to resolve much of the decades old challenges that we are still grappling with. In spite of our failures to resolve our problems having survived 50 years, it is time to look forward with a positive attitude.

'It is time to ask Nigerians to participate in shaping the future of our nation. It is time for transformational politics, which is about electing someone committed to doing something about the challenges facing our country, and not transactional politics, which is about electing someone on account of instßant or future personal advantage.

'Today, I see clear signs that the country is ready for that kind of action; for that kind of leadership. That's the only explanation one can give for the large number of people that are gathered here today.'

The ANPP presidential aspirant attributed the loss of hope in government by Nigerians to the uninspiring leadership that PDP had provided and assured the gathering of change.

'It is common knowledge that today, Nigerians of every standing and circumstances are struggling relentlessly to improve their lives. And they are yearning for an operating environment that is rule-based and transparent. 'They are tired of a system that is weak and often unpredictable; a system of rent seeking, and a system where hardly anything gets done without some waste of resources. They are tired of a Federal Government that is not working for them; a government that couldn't create jobs for the unemployed; a government that couldn't fulfill its pledge to entrench rule of law; attain food security; deliver electricity in spite of repeatedly shifted deadlines and changed promises.

'Thus, what is lacking is a focused leadership that will do what it takes to tackle our problems. I am convinced that with discipline, sustained focus and by applying ourselves, we can address the challenges facing us as a nation.'

Earlier in his message, former chairman of the Party Board of Trustees (BoT) and aspirant for the party national chairmanship seat, Dr Harry Akande, observed that with the declaration by a politician of Mallam Shekarau's pedigree for the presidential race, ANPP had showed genuine intention for the race.

'After the 1999 presidential election, ANPP has been posturing for the presidency. But today, I can now see seriousness. God told me this is our time; we are going straight to Aso Rock. 'The South-West is 100 per cent committed to Shekarau. I have heard him, he has said that he would support whoever picks the party ticket, that's the beauty of it all, he should be prepared for competitors within the ANPP,' Akande told the gathering.

Apparently making insinuation on the contentious zoning arrangement threatening the fragile unity within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Edo State governor, Chief Odigie Oyegun declared that God has planted confusion in PDP and admonished ANPP leaders to exploit it to the party advantage.

'Today, God has planted confusion in the midst of those who for long has been vandalizing this country. ANPP is prepared to be the vehicle for the salvation of Nigeria. 'The conditions are right, Nigerians are yearning for change. ANPP under Shekarau presidency will be that agent of change, come 2011.' Oyegun declared.