Scores of chieftains of the opposition peoples democratic party (PDP) have faulted those pushing for the disqualification of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from vying for the seat of the presidency in the 2023 poll on the ground of age.
The group under the aegis of Amalgamated Atiku Support Group (AASG) urged the PDP to take a cue from advanced democracies of the world by picking a presidential flagbearer with the wherewithal to ensure the growth of the country
Led by Mr Oladimeji Fabiyi, the group maintained that the choice of the candidate should be based on his leadership abilities, vision and experience and not about age.
The group noted: “If the authors of the anti-Atiku campaign knew what they were talking about, they should not have brought up the age issue. President Joe Biden is 78 and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 81 and she is one of the strongest and most effective lawmakers ever elected in the United States.
“Dubai’s greatest ruler and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Almakthoum is 74. Former President Ronald Reagan was one of the oldest presidents ever elected in US history, but his economic record remains one of the best in contemporary American history. His age was never a hindrance to his ability to perform.
” Leadership is about vision and experience and not about age. Former President Obasanjo was able to transform Nigeria because he had a vision and track record. He ended the enslavement of Nigeria to foreign debts.
“His age had never stood in his way. Atiku is an active politician with a soundtrack record and experience having served as Vice President under Obasanjo. Even before then, he had run and continues to run successful businesses. Such experience gives him a relative advantage.
“It is therefore obvious that this anti-Atiku group is ignorant of the dynamics of our politics and recent election trends. Atiku is the most adequately prepared and experienced political candidate in Nigeria to confront APC.”
Continuing, the group stressed: “In the face of these challenges, Atiku Abubakar is the only politician adequately prepared to rescue the country. He is not a provincial politician; is a bridge-builder; he doesn’t believe the winner takes all; he is broadminded. Atiku’s greatest asset is his unifying vision and even his worst enemy cannot deny this fact.
“Running Nigeria is not like running a local government. Atiku understands Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversity, which is an essential ingredient for leadership. He understands Nigeria; he is a good listener; he is a unifier.
“The future of Nigeria is at stake. We need a man of Atiku’s experience because he has the ability to heal wounds and rebuild the country’s badly compromised unity. The debate on the 2023 election should be based on issues.
“Atiku’s priority has always been the economy, security, infrastructure, efficient social services, unity and inclusive government. His role as former Vice President was a testimony of his experience and competence to handle complex issues and responsibilities. His record speaks volumes about his experience.”