Former Cross River State governor Donald Duke in an interview with Dele Momodu for Thisday Newspaper, has revealed he’d like to run for president in 2019.
Duke, who transformed Cross River State into a tourism hotspot in the country, told Momodu he is disappointed by the criticism he received during his tenure.
“You won’t believe this; I was totally disappointed to hear supposedly knowledgeable people utter such words like ‘Na Dubai we go chop?’
It’s this sort of warped mentality that has kept us where we have found ourselves. Lack of big dreams, lack of faith in our abilities to build our own big cities and compete against the greatest nations.
Nigerians are naturally brilliant, and we have the population to give us the power and influence of China, but we are not ready to change our ways of doing things,” he said.
Asked if he’d like to run for president in 2019, Duke replied in the affirmative, but said his party – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – is deciding on many things. He said:
Dele, do you want to hear the truth? I seriously want to run but my party, PDP, would have to decide on many things.
Our party is well-positioned to win the next election if we can change our style a bit and beat APC at its own game. We must take advantage and benefit from our experience since 1999.
Despite our apparent mistakes, Nigerians can now compare and contrast us with APC. What do we need to win the next elections? We must go to the field with our best candidates. We must learn from how we select our footballers. No one cares where you come from. Can you play well? Pronto. We must show clearly that we are more democratic.
Zoning is good, but it has not worked well in Nigeria. The time has come to unleash the best brains from every part of Nigeria. We must galvanise our youths. They will never follow or support us if we can’t show how we are different and far better than APC.
Duke told Momodu that if he does run for president under the aegis of the PDP, he believes they can defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said:
If I can get the ticket of my Party, I’m certain that with the support of our members and the youths of Nigeria yearning for urgent restoration of hope, we shall defeat APC.
I’m certain Nigerians are anxiously waiting for a leader with proven record of vigour and excellence. They will come out en masse to vote if they see such a candidate. And I promise to join hands with my party to free Nigeria permanently from recession, oppression and depression.
We know what to do to unlock the potentials of our vibrant youths and we possess the most important gift of all, the trust in our ability to take development to every part of our great country and attract our most fertile minds back home from all over the world. Our international friends are also waiting to support the right leadership when they see one. It would be the dawn of a new era in Nigeria.
Read the full interview HERE.