Prince Anthony Ekene Onwuka, a Germany-based lawyer and international project management consultant, has been appointed Special Assistant on Special Duties to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar (GCON).
With his appointment, Barrister Onwuka will support the campaign efforts of Alhaji Abubakar, who is the main opposition PDP’s presidential candidate, with an additional responsibility for the mobilisation of the diaspora.
Speaking on his appointment in an exclusive interview with The African Courier, Onwuka, who is a former Special Assistant, Project Monitoring and Special Duties, Presidential Monitoring Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said Atiku Abubakar had a lot of regard for the diaspora and would ensure that they play an active role in his government if elected president at Nigeria’s general election scheduled for February 2023.
“If you look at his antecedents, Waziri Atiku Abubakar brought many diaspora Nigerians into government during his vice presidency,” Onwuka revealed.
“He brought Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Magnus Lekara Kpakol and many others into government because he believes that Nigeria must engage its diaspora talents instead of hiring foreign experts.”
Onwuka talked about the former vice president’s extensive experience in both the public and private sectors which he opines qualifies him for the country’s apex office. “Alhaji Abubakar is a highly experienced public official and one of the most successful operators in Nigeria’s organised private sector,” he added.
The Germany-based lawyer credits the former vice president with many achievements of the Obasanjo era, such as the privatisation of non-performing government-owned economic assets, the professionalisation of the management of federal parastatals and the successful renegotiation of the country’s external debt.
“As Chairman of the National Economic Council from 1999-2007, he presided over the most successful story of national financial turn-around in Africa.”
Onwuka said the main challenges confronting Nigeria today are insecurity and unemployment and only Atiku Abubakar had what it takes to take on these challenges.
“Given the state of the nation today, he’s the most experienced politicians among the presidential candidates who has the network and the political skills to unite our deeply-divided nation,” he said.
Onwuka talked about Atiku Abubakar’s involvement in politics since the late 1980s and that he has participated in one form or the other in every election since then.
“Building on the legacy left by his mentor, the late Shehu Musah Yaradua, the Waziri has constructed the largest ever political network in modern Nigeria,” he added.
“In fact, there is no local government in Nigeria today that the Waziri does not have political associates. He has therefore more than proved his capacity for bridge-building across ethnic, regional and religious borders. That shows that he’s a unifying figure in Nigeria.”
Onwuka said Atiku Abubakar’s immediate family “is a microcosm of the diversity of our nation”, which, in his opinion, means that the former vice president is going to run an inclusive government if elected next year.
“In fact, his candidacy is a patriotic intervention to steady the drifting ship of state and redirect it to the course of sustainable political and economic development.”
Onwuka hinted that Atiku Abubakar will soon interface with the diaspora within the framework of a global webinar which will afford Nigerians living outside the country the opportunity to interact with the PDP’s presidential candidate.