Posted by Isaac Umunna | 5 October 2018 | 959 times
Except in the event of a last-minute compromise, a crowded field of 13 chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will tomorrow, Saturday, October 6, 2018, slug it out at the Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for the party’s ticket for the 2019 presidential elections. They are, in no particular order: KabiruTanimu Turaki, SAN; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Senator Bukola Saraki; Governor Aminu Tambuwal; Senator Ahmed Makarfi; Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; Alhaji Sule Lamido; Senator David Mark; Dr. Datti Baba Ahmed; Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo; Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau; and Senator Jonah Jang.
However, among all these, only one has been loudly advertising his credential as a man of integrity and the New Face of Hope that Nigeria critically needs at this critical juncture. That man is accomplished Lawyer and Administrator, KabiruTanimuTuraki, SAN.
KTT, as he is fondly called by his numerous admirers, has every reason to blow is trumpet in this regard. At a time when many people who were privileged to hold one public office or the other have become tarred with the brush of corruption, Turaki has been tested and passed the test of integrity in flying colours.
As a Public Servant, Turaki has held three high profile positions at the Federal level. These are: Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs; Supervising Minister of Labour and Productivity; and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North East.
These strategic positions involved the management of several billions of naira. For Turaki to have managed these billions and not be found wanting in any way speaks volumes of his incorruptibility.
In the circumstances, if the main thing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is marketing about President Muhammadu Buhari – its Candidate for the 2019 presidential elections – is his purported integrity, then PDP Delegates have an easy choice to make if they wish to present a Candidate who can match Buhari – or even beat him – on that score. Similarly, if it is agreed that corruption is Nigeria’s major problem as it drains much-needed but scarce resources for development, then it follows that Turaki as PDP’s standard bearer during the 2019 presidential polls would not be difficult to market.
Incidentally, integrity is not the only thing going for Turaki as he heads for the PDP Presidential Primaries in Port Harcourt. An early starter in the presidential race, Turaki traversed all the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), discussing details of his presidential ambition with party faithfull because, according to his campaign team, “he wants to create synergy and feel the pulse of the people; he wants to be part of their environment and appreciate their challenges.”
Currently the Chairman of the Forum of Former Ministers on the platform of the PDP, Turaki is also Chairman of the North West caucus of PDP comprising elder statesmen. He has a long history of loyalty and service to PDP and served as Deputy Director General of the party’s presidential campaign committee during the 2015 presidential elections.
Another plus for Turaki is that he has age on his side and possesses creative ideas on how to solve the country’s multifarious problems. A strong believer in the need to restructure the country along the lines of resource control, fiscal federalism, statism or regionalism or devolution of powers, Turaki, as his campaign team recently explained, “is a young and vibrant politician who has the backing of many people in his aspiration for the nation’s presidency. He is seen by many as a core grassroots politician, who has built a lot of political bridges across the country. He is a well-educated and articulate politician, a bundle of intellect with a wealth of experience and vast knowledge of technical know-how.”
That is not all, for “Turaki is very confident and decisive. He is a great listener and a team player who is ready to take responsibility for his actions. These are indicators of strength of character of a person who is a sure footed leader. He also has the courage to take decisions in the best interest of the people and the nation. As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Turaki has the requisite capacity to protect the country’s constitution and promote the rule of law.”
Turaki is highly regarded including among the PDP elite. Addressing him recently when he visited Bayelsa, the State Governor, The Honourable Seriake Dickson, Chairman of the now-dissolved PDP Reconciliation Committee, said: “You are a good man who means well for the country, especially in terms of service to the people. Your loyalty to the country has never been in doubt. Your commitment unquestionable. Your performance in any task assigned to you has been beyond expectations.”
On his part, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State described Turaki’s CV as “fantastic and excellent”. Speaking at the Government House, Ado Ekiti, where Turaki had consultations with PDP delegates and elders from the state, Fayose governor said: “When we look at the assignments you have carried out, you are not a small man. You have capacity for the job of the President.”
Though zoned to the North, the PDP Presidential Ticket is not micro-zoned. Even so, Fayose, a man known for saying it as it is, believes that Turaki coming from the same geographical zone as President Buhari is an advantage. It is, according to him, “safer and better” for PDP to pick its Presidential Candidate from the North West zone to compete for votes effectively with President Buhari.
Everything considered, it is understandable why Turaki is exuding supreme confidence ahead of the PDP Special Convention in Port Harcourt. He believes that the chances of his winning the general elections is most high with his unassailable integrity, honesty, bridge building capacity, diplomacy, dynamism, zeal, commitment, competence and exemplary public and private track record. “My chances,” he said during a recent media chat, “are very bright to pick the PDP presidential ticket. I am a bridge builder, well educated and I am not fighting anybody. I also do not have any extra baggage. In all the positions that I had served, I have excelled.”
Turaki has promised to achieve the following if given PDP’s mandate and eventually elected Nigeria’s President:
1. Secure the people economically and ensure the protection of lives and properties of citizens, as well as return the people to the virtues of patriotism, nationalism and being our brothers keepers.
2. Ensure Rule of Law and natural justice.
3. Frontally tackle the menace of corruption in a holistic manner.
4. Provide critical infrastructure for national development.
5. Open up the economy to attract investment that will create job opportunities for our teeming youth.
But for ‘The New face of Hope’ to get the opportunity to do all that, PDP Delegates first have to vote for him as the Party’s Candidate. Will they do so this weekend in Port Harcourt?
•Isaac Umunna is an award-winning international journalist and Publisher of News Express (www.newsexpressngr) online daily.
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