Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has taken the nation and her people adrift, and would require a collective effort to recover Nigeria from them.
Atiku, who has slated the Lagos leg of the presidential rally for today, however, noted that for Nigeria to be great, inclusive and united, there was a need for a purposeful leadership that can work through the process, and in this case, himself.
Similarly, the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, at the weekend, in Calabar, Cross River State, boasted that the PDP would win next year’s presidential election in all the six states of the South-south, because the zone was solidly PDP’s.
At the same time, the leadership of the PDP has condemned what it described as constant brazen attacks, threats and negative labelling of the media by the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Organization, saying their disposition has confirmed that they were fascist.
Atiku, in a statement, yesterday, said, “For a country to be great, it must be united and inclusive. And for a country to be united, it must possess a leadership that is ready to work through the purpose.
“The upcoming general election in our country is a rescue mission to save the soul of the nation. The ruling party, APC, has taken us adrift and we are far off the course to the purpose of unity and prosperity.
“That is why you and I must work assiduously together to ensure that we Recover Nigeria. Saving the soul of Nigeria must begin with denying the APC your vote in 2023. They have failed us woefully and must be punished for that.
“But it’s not enough to vote out the APC. We must coalesce into the PDP – the only viable party that has the capacity to dislodge the failed ruling party. When you vote for the PDP, you would have voted a party that has a history of uniting the country, with a guarantee of shared prosperity.
“So, please, permit me to admonish you, again, to continue to mobilise more support among your family, friends and colleagues that will ensure that the PDP wins in the next general election, because, when the PDP wins, the victory is all ours,” he stated.
However, expected at the Lagos PDP presidential campaign are all past and present PDP governors, National Assembly and members of the Board of Trustees among other party members.
Also, all Lagos State candidates of the party are expected to collect their symbolic party flags as PDP candidates.
Meanwhile, Okowa, addressing members of the campaign council, party members and supporters, in Calabar, said the PDP was solidly entrenched in the South-south, and was poised to win the presidential election, and all others elections in the zone at the 2023 polls.
Okowa said the hard work done by the council, and the love the people of Cross River had shown to the PDP it was sure of winning the state, and the entire South-south zone.
Okowa commended the leadership of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) in Cross River State, saying, the volume of work they had already done on ground was visible and palpable.
The PDP vice presidential candidate said he believed strongly that the party would “recover, rescue and rebuild Cross River State, the south-south zone, and the nation from the sinking ship of the APC.”
Chairman of the Atiku/Okowa National Presidential Campaign Council and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who inaugurated the PDP National Youth Campaign Council and the Women wing of the Presidential Campaign Council, in the state said that the PDP has never lost any general election in Cross River State from 1999 to date.
Udom said victory for the PDP in the state and the South-south zone was a culture that would be sustained during the 2023 general election, adding that, the governors of the South-south region were united with the PDP family to ensure the party’s candidates won in 2023.
In his remarks, a former governor of Cross River State and leader of the PDP in the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, said he was certain that with the calibre of people inaugurated into the Youth and Women wings of the campaign council, they were certain the PDP would win massively in the state.
Imoke, who is the Deputy Director (Operations) of the Atiku/Okowa NPCC, welcomed and appreciated the vice presidential candidate, governors of the South-south states present, and other distinguished guests for gracing the ceremony, and honouring the PDP.
The Senator representing Cross River Southern Senatorial District and Chairman of Cross River State Presidential Campaign Council, Gershom Bassey, while presenting his welcome address, said the PDP in the state was already in the trenches working hard to win the 2023 general election.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, and the spokesperson for the PCC, Senator Dino Malaye, were among the top members of the party that attended the event.
This, nonetheless, the PDP, yesterday, said Nigerians were appalled by the inflammatory declaration of hostility, animosity and labelling of Arise News TV by the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign as part of its scheme to intimidate the media in Nigeria from carrying out its constitutional duty of providing Nigerians the legitimate and credible platform to examine, review and interrogate the policies and programmes of those aspiring to hold the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the party said the action of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign was an unpardonable display of intolerance, aversion and hatred for the media and a direct affront to Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“This confirms apprehension by Nigerians of APC’s plot to discount critical sections of our constitution to stifle the media, erode free speech and foist a fascist system in our country,” it said.
The PDP, therefore, observed that while Tinubu, had the right to “decide where he goes and events to participate in” the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign exposed its proclivity towards fascism by seizing the constitutional freedom of association of other Nigerians particularly, their spokespersons and supporters from exercising their right to appear in media or platform of their choice.
“Nigerians know that Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign is desperate to shield Asiwaju Tinubu from answering questions on his numerous alleged issues of perjury, certificate forgery, treasury-looting, inconsistencies in name, age, ancestry, educational qualification as well as his reported involvement in trafficking in narcotics for which he forfeited $460,000 through an Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction in the United States.
“The Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign should know that evading Media invitation at home in Nigeria and running to Chatham House in London cannot save Asiwaju Tinubu. Nigerians are demanding that he should address them at home and not in London.
Our Party holds firmly that as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the Media has a duty under the Constitution to act as the watch dog of government, public officials and those aspiring to hold public offices.
“In that regard every media platform in Nigeria has the obligation to ensure that those, who aspire to public offices, especially, the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, must make themselves available for the Nigerian people to examine, review and interrogate their policies and programmes for the nation.
“Our fear is that the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign’s threats to the media is capable of inciting APC thugs against media practitioners and journalists in Nigeria and intimidate them from carrying out their Constitutional duties.”
Consequently, the PDP drew the attention of the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to the threat by the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign towards the media and urged him to take steps to ensure that the media, has an environment conducive for operation and freedom to discharge their duties to the nation.
Relatedly, the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, has mocked Tinubu on his trip to the Chatham House in United Kingdom, saying the voters he needed to address were not in Chatham House but in Nigeria.
In a statement by the Atiku/Okowa campaign, “It is pathetic that Asiwaju Tinubu, had to travel to the United Kingdom under the guise of appointment at Chatham House just to dodge Nigerians and the media at home for fear of being asked questions on his many political baggage, miserable gaffes, fictitious plans and the meaningless programmes encapsulated in a renewed hopelessness.”
The campaign explained that Tinubu was always looking for public arena, where he could depend on scripted messages rather than allow himself to be scrutinised by Nigerians.
“It is imperative for his handlers to note that Nigerians are apprehensive that Asiwaju Tinubu might eventually cause our nation a huge international embarrassment by exhibiting his constant gaffes on the International Stage at Chatham House.
“In any case, while the APC Presidential candidate is forum shopping abroad, the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar is going round the country and directly engaging Nigerians on credible fora with his people-based and national recovery plans, policies and programs for our nation.
“Our Campaign urges Nigerians to disregard the antics of the APC and its Presidential Candidate as they remain focused on their determination to vote in Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 Presidential election so that he can lead the charge in the onerous task of rebuilding our nation.”