ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar announced he will run for president in the 2023 election, promising to “rescue” Africa’s most populous country which he said has been “left behind” by the continent and the world.
Speaking to supporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Abubakar said he is “the unifier that is coming to bound the broken union” of a nation deeply divided along religious and ethnic lines.
The 75-year-old business mogul was the West African nation’s vice president from 1999 to 2007 and this is the sixth time he has run for president.
His most recent attempt was in 2019 when he lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party garnered 41% of the vote coming in second to Buhari’s All Progressives Congress party which took 55% of the votes cast.
“This time around is different, our journey will not end at the poll. We will get to work and rescue Nigeria,” Abubakar said to cheers. “Let our stories be told for generations to come that we are the ones that rescued Nigeria when it was on the verge of fatal destruction.”
Nigeria — Africa’s most populous country with 206 million people — is battling unprecedented unemployment of 33% and growing insecurity. More than 80 million Nigerians — 40% of the population — are living in poverty, according to government data.
Abubakar said he would “get Nigeria working again” by improving the country’s security, reviving the economy, improving education and de-centralizing power to allow the country to operate as a true federation as provided in its constitution.
“Nigeria is a land of possibilities,” the presidential hopeful said, adding though that the country is “presently a sinking ship” it “must be rescued urgently.”
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