By Miftaudeen Raji
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has vowed to implement the policy document presented to him by the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Atiku made this vow during his meeting with the CAN leadership in Abuja on Tuesday.
The PDP presidential candidate noted that he believes totally in the strategy document of the Christian body.
According to Atiku, there is no difference between CAN’s Policy Roadmap for a Future Nigeria and his position as contained in his policy document and various books he has published.
He said, “I have listened to the presentation of the CAN document and I can tell you the CAN document is totally in conformity with my thoughts in a book that I published when I was the Vice President and this led to a fundamental disagreement with my boss as well as my constituents. There is no difference between my book and CAN’s presentation.”
Atiku’s delegation was received by CAN’s President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the Secretary of the association, and other executive members.
The delegation included his Vice-Presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Chairman of the PDP, Iyiocha Ayu, Ex-VP Ach Namadi Sambo, PDP PCC DDG Operations Senator Liyel Imoke, Gov Ishaku Darihus, Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye, Tom Ikimi, Hon Elumelu, High chief Raymond Dokpesi amongst others.
The former vice president said ” I stand before you not to campaign but to tell you the honest truth, what you have presented is what I have always believed in. And if I have the opportunity, I swear to God I will do it.
“Oil didn’t send me to school, my parents paid cattle tax, market tax, radio tax and these were the taxes that sent me school from primary to university. If God has given you gold or oil, take your oil or gold but I will tax you.
“Why should we be fighting over resources that have been endowed to whoever it is endowed to”.
Presenting CAN’s strategy document titled, “Policy Roadmap for a Future Nigeria,” Okoh said “For avoidance of doubt, we present the policies that we believe will address the crises of development in Nigeria.
“State police or fully decentralized police authority; clear and unambiguous religious neutrality of the Nigerian state through the removal of constructional references to religion and the use of religious symbols in al national legal materials and symbols, like the currency, etc., Enforcement of fundamental rights of all Nigerians, including economic and social rights.”
“Restructuring to decentralize governance; Equitable and enforceable sharing of executive and legislative positions in Nigeria; Ethnic and religious representation in military and security agencies, Self-determination for all Nigerian people through inclusion of the right of a referendum in the constitution
“No to Ruga, yes to ranching, Education and free healthcare to all Nigerians (including Almajiri); No open grazing (rather modernization of animal husbandry) and Local control of local economy, including waters, rivers, and forest”.
Also speaking during the session, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, “We have come to the season to plant and we must be careful to plant right so we can harvest abundance and bounitfuly.
“The church needs to be prayerful as we have not been this divided as a nation before as we are today and at this moment we need a man that can unify all ethnic groups, formal and informal groups. We saw how he alongside President Obasanjo ensured the unity of this country after years under the military and how our presidential candidate who was the VP then handled the economy which led to economic development and prosperity.”
Okowa promised the leadership of the CAN that Atiku/Okowa Presidential campaign will ensure it attends to all issues raised in the CAN’s strategy document.