ABUJA—  Former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, has said he will contest for Presidency in 2019 general elections.

Duke, who declared his interest for the plum job in his keynote address at the 3rd Mike Omotosho Annual Lecture, entitled, “Mellinials as Protagonists in Nation Building,” Sunday  night in Abuja, promised to kick-start the process at the right time.

Former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke
governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke

“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.

Duke, however, challenged the youths to fully participate in the electoral process by getting their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, and sensitising others ahead of 2019 general election, rather than loafing around, looking for who to heap their problems on.

The former governor charged:  “It was high time Nigerians begun to project people with the technical know-how to take the country to the Promised Land.

“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 they never gave up on them considering the high mortality rate, so why would there 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.”

Duke, who disapproved of recent death of Nigerian migrants on Mediterranean sea and slavery in Libya, coupled with job loss and rate of unemployment in Nigeria, summed up:  “I don’t know what a definition of failed state is and I don’t want to categorise 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 hand break now before it gets late.”

Buhari, ministers disconnected

The ex-governor, while rating the activities of the present administration, said there was disconnection between President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet members.

He said:  “The challenge we have today is the disconnect. That is the challenge of the governance today and I am being candid here.

‘’I think we should stop deceiving ourselves here and stop all these political correctness. There is disconnecting between the President and even the ministers.”

He also attributed the failure of governance to lack of consequences for erring leaders, which had given room for incompetence.


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