Former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, has indicated he may be interested in running for President in the 2019 general elections.
According to a report from the Vanguard, the former governor declared his interest for the job at the 3rd Mike Omotosho Annual Lecture titled: “Millennials As Protagonists In Nation Building” in Abuja on Sunday night. Mr Duke who served as Cross River State governor between 1999 and 2007 explained that he would only start the process at ”the right time and circumstance.”
“I am entitled to run for the presidency of this country. I am entitled to it. Only on right circumstances I will aspire for it. I don’t shy away from responsibility, only the right circumstance, I will aspire for presidency of this country. I have what it takes to be president of this country.” He said.
Mr Duke, however, challenged the youth to be active participants in the electoral process by getting their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, and sensitising others ahead of the general elections in 2019, rather than “loafing around, looking for who to heap their problems on”. The former governor also noted that the country once had young leadership in its first republic. “It was high time Nigerians begun to project people with the technical know-how to take the country to the Promised Land”.
He said, “I hear young people say to me that why would they spend hours queuing and casting their votes when at the end their votes won’t count. And I tell that if their parents conceived them and never gave up on them considering the high mortality rate so why would they not take a chance in building this nation? We had young leadership at one stage or the other. Even in our first republic, besides the likes of Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, M. T. Mbu was in his twenties when he became a minister. Gowon was 30 when he became the head of state. It comes back to the disaster therein because most of them didn’t have experience in governance, which led us into war. We need the combination of both. What I think we should be doing is to ensure a government that is youth friendly to provide opportunities because we need to groom the next set of leadership.”
Mr. Duke, also took time to lament the recent deaths of Nigerian migrants on the Mediterranean sea, slavery in Libya, Job loss and the rate of unemployment in Nigeria. “I don’t know what a definition of failed state is and I don’t want to categorize Nigeria as a failed state yet, however, a state that was unable to provide for its people has faded up. So, if we are not there yet, we are walking with our eyes open towards it. And we need to pull the handbrake now before it gets late” He said.
Speaking on the present administration, the ex-governor said there was disconnection between President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet members. According to him, “The challenge we have today is the disconnect. That is the challenge of the governance today. Because if you speak with the folks in government, and I am being candid here. I think we should deceiving ourselves here and stop all these political correctness. There is disconnect between the president and even the ministers”.