The former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, speaking at a programme titled ” The Nigerian Symposium For Emerging Leaders” held in Lagos on Tuesday said he would still take another shot at the presidency if the opportunity presented itself.
He said though he once aspired to the position but did not emerge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he would still contest for the highest office in the country at the appropriate time.
Duke explained that it was because of his preference for the presidency that he did not vie for any federal legislative seat after serving out his terms as governor.
“I do not have the flair for the legislature; standing up and sitting down at the chambers to raise a point. That was why I did not contest for the Senate but the presidency, after serving out my term as governor.
“I have contested the presidency before; I will still give it a shot when the opportunity presents itself. I believe I still have the energy in me,” he said.
The former governor canvassed for the reform of the country’s political system to accommodate wider participation and good governance.
He suggested the review of the electoral law to allow for an independent candidacy.
Duke said the country’s democracy would fare better if young people, who form the larger portion of the population, took a more active part in its political process, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said most developed countries have had young people as their leaders at one point or the other in their democratic history.
The former governor, however, said power was never given easily, urging young people to participate in the political process and use the prime of their lives to add value to the country.
“I want to urge young people in the country not to see leadership as if it belongs to some people and do nothing positive to be part of it.
“You can only make a difference in the prime of your life. You can actually add value now, not when you are above 50.
“So, you need to be part of the political process and play your part. It is your right to be there; nobody is doing you a favour.
“You represent more than 60 percent of the population, you don’t have to beg for it.
“Just make the effort to make that change and contribute your quota to nation building,” he said.
Duke also took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying as president, the latter was disconnected from reality.
The former governor, who urged his audience to always consider the age of those that presented themselves to serve, said: “Old people in government are usually disconnected from the realities on ground.”