By Ima Akpabio

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has urged Nigerian leaders to identify unity and restructuring as solutions capable of sustaining the growth and development of the country.

The Governor made the call on Wednesday at the Government House, Uyo during the consultation visit by Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to state to declare his desire to contest for the presidential seat come 2019.

While appreciating Atiku Abubakar for his concern about the situation in the country, Governor Emmanuel said that the people were expecting a much better Nigeria from 2019. “We are still expecting that time that Nigeria will be run as a business venture not as a segmented six regional basis where money is made everywhere and then shared at Abuja. We don’t expect that will still continue.

“If you cannot run a kiosk, you cannot run a supermarket, you cannot run a sole-proprietorship, you cannot run a multi-national. So experience is what is needed in businesses and ventures of this nature.”

He assured the former Vice President the commitment of the leadership of the party to make the race much more interesting, and stressed that although many aspirants will indicate interest, but only the one ordained by God will prevail.

Earlier, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, while declaring his intention, applauded the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, and former leaders of the state including Obong Victor Attah and the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for laying a solid foundation for the development and prosperity of the state and the people, and attributed the successes achieved to the consistency by the people in voting the ruling party, PDP in Akwa Ibom and commended the people for their steadfastness.

He said his visit to the state was to inform the people of his desire to contest for the presidency of this country in the forthcoming 2019 elections, an expression he said was borne out of sheer and dogged patriotism as well as to reunite and restructure the country, which, according to him, will bring about the ingenuity of citizens and leaders in the country to diversify sources of revenues in order to be able to render the services needed by the people for their development and prosperity.

Atiku assured the people that he was a product of the first federalism enjoying free and qualitative education with payment of a weekly pocket money up to university level in an era when oil was yet to be exploited.

“I do not seek to become the president of this country for any other reason than to reunite the country, bring economic prosperity and to look at our structure whether it has actually achieved the objectives of our federalism.”

He decried the issue of devolution of powers and resources to the various components of the country. “I have known this state for a very long time and cannot point out a federal road, federal project, a federal hospital or any major project in this state.

“All what have been achieved in this state in terms of developmental stride have been done by the government of this state. Therefore, I strongly believe in a restructured Nigeria,” he stated, and wondered why the second and third tiers of government were not being empowered with more resources in order for them to do better than they have done.

The presidential aspirant noted that his primary and secondary educations were completely funded by the local government whose the then officials, he said, were not more than grade two or three holders but showed high level of patriotism and commitment to the development and prosperity of the local authority and the people.

Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a memento by the presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel.

In his encourage were former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, that of Niger State, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, former National Chairman of the PDP and former Governor of Enugu State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, among others, while the state Governor was joined by his Deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio and wife, Ekaette Unoma Akpabio; Senator Anietie Okon, Senator Effiong Bob, Senator Ibokessien, Senator Helen Esuene, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem; Head of Service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan; Commissioners, the State Leadership of the PDP led by the Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, members of the State Executive Council and other dignitaries.

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