Former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, has formally expressed his interest in contesting the 2019 presidential election.
The 56-year-old made the announcement during an interview with Deutsche Welle Africa on Friday, June 8, 2018, without disclosing the platform he’ll use to contest.
When asked what he thinks he can do better than the country’s incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, he said the current administration is totally out of tune with the current realities of Nigeria.
He said, “I see such obvious failings; I see a leadership that is steeped in the past and that’s really refused to evolve with a nation that’s predominantly a nation of young, aspiring people, and still doing the things the way they were done many many years ago and did not work.
“I think our leadership in the country today is totally out of tune with the current realities of our nation. There’s a disconnect somewhere. So, when you have a leadership that blames its young people, for instance, of not striving enough, or being lazy, it’s a disconnect because the tools to make them achieve their aspirations have not been provided.
“Look at the state of education. The state of education today is a far cry from what I received. So the elites amongst us try to send their children abroad; that’s a dream. They’re gonna breed a generation of children who are disconnected from home and from abroad.
“We had good schools here that could compete with schools anywhere in the world. We had some of the best medical facilities in the 60s and early 70s, all of that has gone to rot. The president himself receives medical treatment abroad. That is a sad state of affairs.
“We can’t go on this way and keep complaining. Someone has to take the bull by the horns and I intend to that.”
Buhari was unprepared for leadership – Duke
When asked during the interview what he thinks has been the major failure of the present Buhari-led government, Duke said it was a lack of preparation on their part which has also led to failure to fulfil campaign promises.
He said, “They were not prepared for leadership. Six months to set up a cabinet? Where’d we hear that? President Buhari campaigned for office in two planks: corruption and security.
“Now let’s take the scorecard. Corruption is not dead. Persecuting corruption is dealing with symptoms and not the problem. The real problem is you’ve got to create jobs for people. You’ve got to pay them adequately. You’ve got to strengthen your institutions that it makes it almost impossible for you to engage in this set of activities; and should you engage in it, you’re sure that there are consequences.
“I could reduce Nigeria’s problem to one word: consequences, and the lack of it. People get away with anything, and so it’s not picking a few largely in the opposition and name and shame them in the press then thereafter nothing happens and they have found a way of now declaring for the party in government and everything peters down. That’s one.
“Security, where are we? Despite the fact that the government has on two or three occassions announced that the war is over and Boko Haram has been defeated, we know it has not been defeated. We know it’s still reigning supreme in the north east; there’s still suicide bombings and kidnaps and all that. And if you visit any of the IDPs, you will appreciate that we’re breeding the next generation of very disgruntled people.”
It’s still unclear on which platform Duke will run next year as he’s still officially a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has zoned its presidential ticket to the north, as well as a member of another third force movement.
When former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, called for a movement of well-meaning Nigerians who will engage in democratic practices that will drive the country forward, Donald Duke was one of the major faces at the launch of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) in Abuja on January 31.
Since then, he has remained a constant feature until the coalition finally metamorphosed into a political movement when it made the decision to adopt the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as its political platform in May.
Duke’s previous run for president
Duke was elected Cross River State governor in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and won re-election in 2003.
After the end of his second term in 2007, Duke was an aspirant in that year’s presidential election but eventually stepped aside for party favourite, Umaru Yar’Adua, who won the election.
This time around, if Duke wins his party’s primary election, he’ll face stiff competition from others like incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Kingsley Moghalu, Fela Durotoye, Omoyele Sowore and a host of others.