Nigeria: Race to Presidency – Atiku Unveils Agenda, Pledges Jobs, Poverty Eradication, Others

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday flagged off his campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, promising to rescue Nigeria from its myriad of problems and restore unity to the country.

He assured that the PDP would rescue Nigeria from hunger, poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity.

He said when the PDP came to power in 1999, there was poverty, insecurity and lack of education.

“We lifted Nigeria from the bottom to the top. We became the biggest economy in Africa, we had peace and we had progress,” he said.

He, however, alleged that since the All Progressives Congress (APC) came to power in 2015, “What we have seen is poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity. Our children are no longer going to school.”

The former vice president appealed to Nigerians to return the PDP to power to rescue the country from hunger, poverty and bring back unity.

“I want to appeal to all Nigerians; I am standing in Akwa Ibom today to ask them to vote for PDP. If you vote for PDP, it would be a return to prosperity, it would be a return to unity and it would be a return to your safety. There would be no more hunger, there would be security.

“I swear, if you vote for PDP, you will not be out of school, you will get jobs, there will be security, there will be unity,” he said.

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, tasked Nigerians to take the ongoing mission by the PDP to rescue the country seriously.

Okowa said the PDP had offered to rescue the country and was prepared to make Nigeria a nation where people can trust one another.

The chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, said the party would restore hope and faith in the common dreams of the people.

Emmanuel, who alleged that the APC had caused the country problems, called on Nigerians to checkmate the hardship.

On his part, the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, commended the people for the support, saying their turnout showed that the PDP train was more than a party.

“It is important that those who have not joined the PDP train to come on board. We know the problem of Nigerians. Nigerians are not interested in our individual problems. Nigerians are hungry and suffering from all kinds of illness. Nigerians cannot sleep in peace because of insecurity. Let us all join hands together because we have the solutions,” he said.

Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Adolphus Wagbara, said: “Today is a remarkable day. The entire Nigerians are here. Our presidential candidate and his vice are the persons to beat. PDP is the only party in today’s Nigeria that is ready to take over power.

“We will have success and there is no doubt about it. We used to say there is no vacancy in Aso Villa. Today, there is vacancy, and the only two persons that would occupy it are our presidential candidate and his vice.”

On his part, Director-General, PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, said Atiku and Okowa would rescue Nigeria from its problems.

“Our party is presenting hope. These two great Nigerians are moving the party forward. These two Nigerians will move the country forward. We have a balanced ticket that can deliver Nigeria from its current situation. I call on Nigerians to vote this team that would rescue Nigeria,” he said.

Also speaking, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State, who spoke on behalf of the governors of PDP, said Atiku and Okowa are two outstanding Nigerians that would reset the country for the good of the youths.

“We assure you that once the team of PDP comes to power, we would change the narratives. You can move freely in Nigeria and there is no more harassment,” he said.

Wike, Makinde, Ortom, others absent

Despite the peace overtures by the Board of Trustees (BoT), the governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike and members of his camp were absent at the flag-off of the campaign.

They are Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

Others chieftains of the party loyal to the camp, including Professor Jerry Gana, Bello Adoke, Donald Duke, Olusegun Mimiko and Hassan Dankwambo, were also absent.

The leading opposition party has been enmeshed in crisis since Atiku picked Okowa as his running mate with the Wike’s camp calling for the resignation of the national chairman.

Spirited efforts to address the crisis have defied various mediations with the latest spearheaded by the party’s BoT.

PDP crisis will soon be over – Gov Diri

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri yesterday expressed optimism that the feud within PDP would soon become a thing of the past.

Senator Diri stated this during the PDP South-South zonal stakeholders’ meeting at the Ibom Hall in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Diri, according to a statement by his spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, described the PDP as a big family that had held sway in the South-South, noting that in such large families, there are bound to be disagreements.

Ayu didn’t maintain neutrality – Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has faulted the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, alleging that he did not maintain neutrality in handling the affairs of the party’s post-convention.

Ortom also alleged that Ayu had resorted to blackmailing him, but that he would not succumb to intimidation or blackmail just because of his senatorial ambition.

The governor, according to a statement yesterday by his spokesman, Nathaniel Ikyur, insisted that he would never trade the interest of the state to gain political power.

“The national chairman did not maintain neutrality in handling the affairs leading to the PDP national convention which produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party.

“Ayu himself committed to resigning should a northern presidential candidate emerge at the northern caucus at the Bauchi State lodge,” he said.

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