From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, yesterday solicited the votes of the people of the South East, promising that his administration would address issues fueling agitation in the zone.
He spoke at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, when he led members of his campaign team to officially flag off APC campaign in the state.
He promised to revive the economy of the zone and make it the Taiwan of the country using the rich human resources which he said abound in great quantity.
He noted that his achievements as governor in Lagos remained an eloquent testimony of his capacity to lead the country alright, saying he deplored best the hands from all parts of the country to develop the state.
He reminded the people of the failures and disappointment they suffered during the 16 years government of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and urged them not to vote for the opposition party.
He commended Governor David Umahi for joining the APC, stressing that his decision was for the best interest of the people of the state and the zone in general.
“In the PDP 16 years of governance, there is no blinker of electricity anywhere in this country. Should they come back to power? No. How will they come back? We don’t want to go backwards, we are progressives. We will move the country forward. We will make the South East the Taiwan of Nigeria. We will do it. It is a matter of rightly deploring the right intellectual which abounds here. We will embark on economic restoration and empowerment. We will ensure electricity and end the extortionist electricity billing. We will address the issues of agitations in South East by bringing agitators to a round table for discussion because we believe that addressing societal challenges does not demand conflict.”
In his remark, Governor Umahi said the APC government under President Muhammadu Buhari has helped the South East more than any other administration before it. He assured the APC candidate that achievements of APC government, both at the federal and state level, would speak for him and ensure his victory in the state and the entire South East in 2023.
At another forum in Abakaliki, Tinubu pledged to review the nation’s reward system to encourage productivity.
The APC flagbearer, who interacted with stakeholders, said it was time to ensure that individuals who contributed to the success of any process benefitted.
“The people of Ebonyi will benefit for their loyalty and commitment to this cause. Together, we would benefit, practice democracy, develop our country and offer our children better days. Ensure that your friends and relations collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote on election days.”
He said the country needed friendliness and brotherhood to surmount the numerous challenges confronting it.
“It is the same cooperation that Ebonyi stakeholders gave Umahi that made him record several achievements in office. The same support and loyalty made him jump a sinking ship to join the APC. When one enters this state Executive Council chambers for instance, he or she would think it is the United Nations chambers,” he said.
Governor David Umahi assured him of total support.
“The APC campaigns in Ebonyi will be easy because we have performed wonderfully in office and exceeded people’s expectations. The people are obedient to Tinubu and the APC and are not bothered about the noise on the social media.” HRH Charlse Mkpuma, chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council, led other traditional rulers to confer the title of ‘Dike di ora mma’ (Great man loved by the people) on Tinubu.
Meanwhile, the National Youth Mobilisation North Central of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), has promised to ensure Tinubu sweeps 70 per cent votes in the geopolitical zone.
It argued that Tinubu’s capacity, experience, not his age or health status placed him above the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively.
Director of the group, Mike Msuaan, at a press conference after meeting with party stalwarts in Abuja yesterday, cited Tinubu’s antecedents as governor of Lagos State to buttress his assertions.
“We didn’t see Asiwaju contesting with Atiku and Peter Obi. We know what Atiku did to this country. He threw the youths of North Central and this country to the streets. The privatisation exercise that he mishandled drove youths into joblessness. We are still in darkness. Is that the person that should rule us? Or are we talking of Peter Obi who has zero record in Anambra State?
“We are equal to the task. We have somebody who is competent, whose antecedents have been speaking for him and would speak for him. This is somebody other states still copy his economic plan. The two of them are nowhere comparable to Tinubu. Under Tinubu, there would be total liberation for the youths and wealth creation.
“The president of the United States of America is as old as Tinubu. It is not about age, it’s about what you have upstairs. Tinubu has experience better than all of them. The right thing the president would do is to assemble the best hands for the country. He has been tested and trusted. He did it in Lagos and he is going to do it for Nigeria.”
On whether APC is comfortable with the use of BVAS and electronic transmission of election results, he responded: “Why should the APC be afraid of BVAS and electronic transfer of results when the youths are strongly behind us? Why should we be afraid? I told you that if election is conducted tomorrow APC is going to win. They are the ones running after us. We have already given them more than 30 per cent gap ahead. And by tomorrow if elections are conducted we would give them more than 50 per cent. We are very comfortable with the arrangement made by INEC.
“We are going to win with that because that has taken care of the manipulation of those who want to do yahoo yahoo on election day. Asiwaju is the next president of this country by the grace of God,” he stated emphatically.