The campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, received a boost yesterday, as three former governors and leaders of the party stormed Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to mobilise support for him ahead of the 2023 elections.
The ex-governors were Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), and Boni Haruna (Adamawa).
The event held at the PDP secretariat in Abeokuta witnessed no fewer than 20 volunteer support groups for Atiku, the party’s governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, and other candidates.
PDP leaders at the rally mocked the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, over his recent fitness video.
In a related development, the immediate past chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, said the crisis plaguing the party would be over soon. Jibrin said this in a statement in Kaduna.
But in Edo State, PDP stakeholders called for the immediate removal of Chief Dan Orbih as South-south Vice Chairman of the party over alleged anti-party activities.
Aliyu, while addressing the crowd of supporters in Abeokuta, insisted that Atiku remained the healthiest candidate among those vying for the presidency. He said if things had worked well, Atiku ought to have succeeded his boss and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former Niger governor took a swipe at Tinubu, whose fitness video went viral yesterday, saying APC and its presidential candidate cannot deceive Nigerians. He said Nigerians knew the candidate who was mentally and physically capable of leading the country.
Aliyu said, “I was looking through the newspapers today and I saw a picture of somebody trying to prove he is healthy. If one is healthy, we don’t need to tell people that we are healthy, but we are aware that Atiku is the healthiest of the presidential candidates in this country.”
He believed only Atiku could rescue Nigeria from Boko Haram, bandits, and other security challenges.
The former governor stated, “We need security and only an Atiku presidency can reclaim our land from Boko Haram, can reclaim our land from bandits, from IPOB and all other bad people that are making our lives difficult. It is only an Atiku presidency that can restructure Nigeria. There must be a state police so as to ensure security in the local areas; only an Atiku Abubakar presidency can do that.
“The economy is bad, there is extreme poverty in the land. Therefore, members of PDP and fellow Nigerians, on the day in February, elect Atiku Abubakar, because the development of any nation depends on the education of that country.
“You have seen what has happened to us today. Our students in the public universities have been at home for more than seven, eight months. Our secondary schools, many of them are so dilapidated that they cannot serve as secondary schools. Our elementary schools, there is no country that has over 20 million children out of school and you expect to be developed; only an Atiku Abubakar presidency can help us solve this problem.
“We have become the poverty capital of the world, that should not be. We are expected to produce everyday 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, but only last month, we were able to produce 900,000, it has gone as low as 600,000. What is happening to the rest? Some people are stealing it. Are we saying the current government does not know those who are stealing it? They know. Therefore, voting for Atiku Abubakar is saving, is rescuing, is developing Nigeria.”
Haruna told the crowd, “I want to appeal to you to join us as you make a commitment towards the primaries to support him and you delivered, we want to also appeal to you that now that the campaigns have started, we plead that this campaign should go to the wards, should go to the units.”
In his address, Adebutu urged the South-west to support Atiku’s candidacy, saying, “PDP is the party that can take you to the mainstream of Nigeria.”
The Ogun State PDP governorship candidate said, “Before the primaries, I told people that for the peace of Nigeria, let us all support Atiku Abubakar. Some people were adamant, they insisted that it was the turn of the Yoruba. But I told them the Yoruba have ruled previously.
“But some people, because of their selfish interest, don’t want Atiku to emerge as our candidate. You cannot lose your integrity because of a pot of porridge. We cannot take Yorubaland out of the mainstream of Nigeria. Yorubaland must remain in the mainstream of Nigeria and PDP is the party that can take you to the mainstream of Nigeria.
“I believe in one Nigeria. All those calling for the break up of Nigeria cannot withstand the destruction of war. We don’t want war, we cannot afford to be refugees, what we want is peaceful resolutions of our problems. We have to move away from the concept of breaking Nigeria, we will not divorce, our children will not suffer.
“Even the countries that have stronger institutions than us cannot not afford to break up. From the recent developments, it has shown that Atiku is a true leader; he has put himself in the position of a true elder. We want an elder that can rebuild the party and the country.”
A spokesperson of the Atiku Abubakar campaign, Daniel Bwala, and some other Nigerians also criticised the eight-second bicycle exercise video of Tinubu in Twitter comments, describing it as a make-believe circulated to try to impress the public.
Bwala, who recently defected from APC after the emergence of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, pointed out features that tended to confirm that the Tinubu fitness video was a mere pretence.
Bwala tweeted: “8 seconds of sitting on a spin bike, no sweat on the face, eye glasses intact, awkward sitting posture, all goes to show a photo-op, as against a real exercise. We are not in a banana republic please.”
Supporters and critics of the APC candidate also had their say.
#DefendNIGERIA, Je’ N Wi Temi! @TheOtitokoro, said, “Is this a normal outfit for exercise. Haba! When will all these deceit end. From fake bishop to fake exercise.”
Imma Ogbonn@CeenOgbonna, wrote, “See how they’re all manipulating your sensibilities. Sometimes I ask myself if all of you are even normal on how all these people get away with impunity and deceptions.”
Chigozirim Aliyu Emeakayi @GoziconC said, “8 seconds of sitting on a spin bike, no sweat on the face, eye glasses intact, awkward sitting posture, all goes to show a photo-op, as against a real exercise.
“We are not in a banana republic please bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla … .”
But, Azeez Adeniyi @Adeniyi66, damning the stance of the Atiku spokesman on the Tinubu exercise video, said, “Just a single video of 7 sec of him exercising, the internet is set into frenzy. That’s how a President rolls. Who talks about Atiku’s dance that was released earlier in the day?.. Nobody!”
John S Kamale @JohnSol18494748, said, “That makes it real that the man is hospitalised as said. Why this nonsense?”
Ajibola Y Owodunni @jibolaowo wrote, “The person that did and released that video did a better job than you have been doing since you got your job with Atiku. That’s good PR timing, when everyone would be online after BBN. Work on your skills.”
Babatunde Temitope @Tsquare1422, stated, “If properly checked, it’s not even plugged.”
Tony4Real @Aeberonwu said, “Are you well! What has sitting on an exercise bike got to do with a Banana Republic. Abeg!”
PDP Crisis Will Be over Soon, Says Jibrin
The immediate past chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, stated that the crisis rocking the party would be resolved soon.
In a statement yesterday in Kaduna, Jibrin said what was happening in the party was a normal family affair that would soon be settled.
He stated, “I want to assure Nigerians that what is happening in PDP is never a problem, but a normal family matter that would be solved very soon. Never, ever mention that PDP has any problem. We shall soon take over from the ruling party. Nigeria shall move forward.”
Jibrin called on PDP members to remain calm, strong, and speak with one voice. He said they should be focused on the 2023 elections, especially, winning the presidency.
While calling on all organs of the party to be united and work towards ensuring success for PDP during the elections, Jibrin said, “All our elders, leaders, youths and all women groups in the party must speak with one voice and avoid creating any division.”
Jibrin also called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP to always show good example in party activities, stressing, “Once an issue has been discussed and agreed upon, all members must abide by it.” He urged them not to allow anybody or group to use them.
Jibrin stated, “All members of the party, no matter what, must accept the decisions taken by the NWC and avoid a situation whereby some few members will come out to make contrary statements. All members of our party, no matter their positions, must accept that PDP constitution which is supreme and above all party members.”
The former BoT chairman commended Governors Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom) and Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), among others, for accepting to lead the PDP presidential campaign. He said he resigned his position as BoT chairman to promote unity in the party.
Jibrin told his fellow PDP members, “We should never be sectional at all. If I left my position to allow others, based on my concern for Nigeria and our party to be stronger, so, I have no regret of relinquishing my position.
“I am happy to announce that Nasarawa State has appointed the state chairman of the presidential campaign.”
Edo PDP Stakeholders Want Dan Orbih Sacked
Stakeholders in the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called for the sack of Chief Dan Orbih as Vice Chairman, South-south, of the party.
The stakeholders made the demand during a meeting in Benin City, attended by party leaders and chieftains from all the senatorial districts in the state.
A leader of the party, Omoregbe John, said, “Critical stakeholders have discovered that the vice chairman, South-south of the PDP does not mean well for the party as his public statements and conduct has revealed.
“The polarisation has been actively fuelled by Chief Dan Orbih for his personal gains and that of the dark interest he represents. When we expected that peace will return to Edo PDP after the avoidable litigations that climaxed at the Supreme Court and setting up of the reconciliation committee by the governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih and his cohorts have called meetings of their people to intimate them on their own moves, which negates the party’s constitution.
“The party constitution says no member or officer of the party should engage in any activity that will ridicule the party but Chief Dan Orbih went on air and social media space to ridicule the party and damage the image of the flag-bearer of the party for the 2023 general election by sowing anger and doubt in the minds of both party members and the voting public.
“It is common knowledge that Chief Orbih and members of the National Working Committee agreed among themselves to draw housing allowance from the account of the party while trying to denigrate the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
“We are calling for the immediate sack or suspension of Chief Dan Orbih within seven days or we will, in conjunction with other stakeholders across the South-south region, occupy the state secretariat and put party activities on hold until our request is granted.
“Members will also converge at the party secretariat along First East Circular Road in Benin City to shut it down and lock it up if our demand is not attended to. We are committed to working for the success of our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.”