Saraki: Senate President responds to controversy surrounding his declaration to run for president

Saraki responds to Not Too Young To Run movement

Saraki said his decision to use the platform to announce his presidential bid was made in good faith.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has responded to the Not Too Young To Run movement over the controversy that has trailed his declaration to run for president in the 2019 presidential election.

The former Kwara State governor made his declaration  in Abuja on Thursday, August 30, 2018, while meeting with young politicians and aspirants interested in running for public office in 2019 under the newly signed Not Too Young To Run Act.

After his declaration, organisers of the event, the Not Too Young To Run movement, expressed disappointment at Saraki's perceived exploitation of the platform to launch his presidential bid.

"The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition.

"We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate and dissociates ourselves from this political move," an official statement read.

In a statement signed by Saraki's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, he said the Senate President's decision to use the platform to announce his bid was made in good faith to young PDP aspirants and partly as a symbolic act of encouragement.

He said he didn't intend to put the movement in a tough spot and promised to continue to work with young Nigerians across the country.

The statement read, "It has been brought to our attention that YIAGA have issued a statement in relation to the announcement made by the President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, whilst addressing the PDP members and aspirants of the group.

"The occasion was first in a series of Dialogues organised by the Not Too Young To Run along Party lines. The first one is for young PDP aspirants. The subsequent ones are designed for the APC and other parties.

"It is true that the Not Too Young To Run leadership had no prior knowledge of the content of the Senate President's remarks. However, the announcement by the Senate President that he intends to throw his hat into the ring to contest for the Presidency was made in good faith to young PDP aspirants, partly as a symbolic act of encouragement.

"It was not the intent of the Senate President to put the group or its leadership in an invidious position. The Senate President appreciates the contribution of the group to the development of our democracy and will continue to work closely with young people across the country in order to make Nigeria a better place for all."

In his declaration speech at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, Saraki promised that his administration will be driven by a youthful energy and vowed to spearhead a new agenda that will transform the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

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