From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has said there is need for leaders of the opposition to close ranks to enable them win the 2023 general elections.
Atiku stated this, yesterday, at the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 general elections, and public presentation of three books: ‘Restructuring as a Pathway to Unity and Development’, ‘The Story of Atiku Abubakar’, and ‘Landmark Constitutional Law Cases in Nigeria (2004-2007): The Atiku Abubakar Cases’ – written in his honour.
The former vice president, who noted that the country has been in dire strait since 2015, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over said all hands must be on deck to rescue the country.
Regardless, he stated that all hope is not lost as he has plans to restore the country’s unity, build a strong and effective democratic government, establish a prosperous economy, encourage adoption of true federalism and strengthen the educational system if elected president.
However, Governors Nyesom Wike, Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Okezie Ikpeazu and Seyi Makinde of Rivers, Benue Enugu, Abia and Oyo states were absent at the inauguration ceremony. The five governors and other aggrieved leaders of the party had announced their withdrawal from the campaign council until their demand for the replacement of the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu with a Southerner is met.
Nevertheless, Atiku maintained that there was need for everyone, who loves the country to join hand with him in the bid to rescue the nation and reposition it for greatness.
“To rescue and rebuild our country, we must first takeover the mantle of leadership from the party that has driven us into this mess. To do this, we must all be united in purpose and come together to fight and win all the elections slated for next year.
“Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP. And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rescue, rebuild and reposition our beloved country, Nigeria.”
The PDP candidate noted that “since the loss at the polls of 2019, and under the watch of the APC government, the country has witnessed a frightening descent into anarchy.
“Our nation is currently in the throes of a multidimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust, to mention a few. To start with, the current government has failed at the very essence of what makes a government: the security of lives and property of its citizens. Our security challenges are legion, and I do not need to bore you by rehashing them here.
“Our economy is in shambles, growth has stagnated, and our people are facing massive existential challenges daily. Hunger is the norm today in our country.”
•Policy document, roadmap to nation’s success –Okowa
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said Atiku’s policy document remains the hope of recovery for the nation. He said that Atiku was adequately prepared for the task of rescuing the nation from its current state and challenged other presidential candidates to show Nigerians what they intended to do so that they could be assessed by Nigerians.
He appreciated the PDP flag-bearer for making a blueprint for the country, saying that it signposted the preparedness of a man ready to salvage the country.
Okowa said Atiku possessed the needed experience and the political will to turn things around for the nation, and urged Nigerians to support the PDP’s rescue mission.
“We cannot allow people who are not experienced enough to man the affairs of this country at this critical time. I am proud to be one man who is ready to work with a strong belief in Nigeria, a bridge-builder and a man who is ready to take Nigeria from the depth of where we have found ourselves to the proper place that we ought to be as a nation.
“I thank God because Atiku believes in the restructuring of this nation, and with him, our country will develop faster when the states control more resources.
“Thank God we have a man who already has his policy document, ‘My Covenant With Nigerians’, and I challenge other candidates to show to Nigerians what they want to do for the nation.
“I believe that Nigerians are lucky at this moment to have a man who is ready to take us out of where we are now as a nation.
“It is not enough to appear on television to say one thing or the other; it is not enough to be on the social media; they must present to Nigerians what they want to do so that they can be judged going into the future,” he said.
Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto and chairman of the presidential campaign council, urged members of the council to be united in working for the victory of the party.
“The campaign council will serve as the vehicle to deliver the PDP and its presidential flagbearer to the villa on the 29th May, 2023, by the special grace of God. All of us are going to hit the ground running and we shall work collectively as a family to ensure the victory of our party.
“The party of the PDP, and indeed its candidate, is the party to beat in this election. It’s only for us to work and, God on our side, we shall deliver this victory to our party and to Nigerians.
“We believe INEC shall conduct free and fair elections. By so doing, victory by the grace of God is guaranteed for the PDP.”
On his part, Akwa Ibom State Governor and chairman of the Presidential Campaign Council, Udom Emmanuel, said the PDP is determined to win and urged the party to ignore doom sayers.
“We want to assure you that we are campaigning to win. Nothing is acceptable to PDP outside victory for PDP, But this will also require that all of us, we must also work. If we had made mistakes in the past, we cannot wind down the clock, we cannot recall what passed yesterday, but we can move forward in the spirit of oneness, unity and progress.”
The PDP Deputy National Chairman(North), Umaru Damagun, while inaugurating the campaign council, said the exercise marks the beginning of the opposition party’s mission to rescue the country from the APC led federal government.
Damagun, who stood in for the PDP national chairman, charged members to approach the campaign with every sense of patriotism to both the party and the country.