By Toby Prince
Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has revealed that his quest to become president was born out of frustration.
Mr Duke contested and lost the last presidential election under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
It was his second shot at the country’s top job after 2015.
In an interview with PUNCH, Mr Duke revealed that he was pained by the suffering and hardship in the country.
” I ran not because I need to have the prefix, president, before my name, I’m a very frustrated Nigerian,” he said.
” I’m a Nigerian that believes that we can do better than we are doing and if we, the so-called elites don’t stand up to correct the flaws of this country then all hope is lost. I hope that circumstances would compel someone who believes in a loftier aspiration for the country, seeks and achieves that office. Too many people that seek the presidency or governorship, local government chairmanships are content with the mundane. You have people celebrating payment of salary, upgrading road, etc, those are mundane, and those are the norm. In another thirty years, our population would be about 400 million, we would have doubled, we are 200 million now, and we were 45 million when we attained Independence. Let me tell you something, between 1979 and ‘83, President Shagari budgeted $25bn averagely annually for four years. Our population was barely 80 million, 40 years after we are budgeting about $24bn for a population of almost 200 million. We are a society in deep regression and if that doesn’t call for some sober reflection, I wonder what would.
“What fundamental things have we achieved in our almost 60 years of independence? Next year we would be 60 and we are going to roll out the drums, the soldiers are going to march, school kids are going to march under the sun, governors and the president would take the salute. We should ask ourselves, over what are we celebrating? When will we celebrate the quality of our lives?”