From Abel Leonard, Lafia
The crowd that greeted the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP’s) presidential campaign held in Nasarawa, the solid mineral state on December 12, was so massive that some people were beginning to conclude that it was over for other political parties in the 2023 general elections.
The event which was held at the Lafia Square, witnessed a large turnout of supporters from across the state and even beyond. It was the first state in the North Central to witness the Atiku Abubakar/Okowa campaign trail ahead of the election.
Atiku, who was amazed by the massive number of supporters, had earlier visited the emir of Lafia, His Royal Highness, Justice Sidi Bage (Retd) for his royal blessings before moving to the venue of the rally in the company of both his campaign council members and the Nasarawa State Campaign Council for Atiku/Okowa, Ombugadu/Ohinoyi and other members of the party in the state. Multitude of party leaders and members were seen singing and dancing as they welcomed the campaign trail at the event.
Addressing the crowd, Atiku Abubakar promised to deliver good road networks, create job opportunities and empowerment opportunities for the women and youths in Nasarawa State if voted in as the next president of the country.
The former vice president reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the nation’s young men and women were employed, insisting that his administration would set aside $10 billion for small and medium scale enterprises for the young men and women.
“Let me also announce that we will link Nasarawa with all other neighbouring states as far as our road infrastructure is concerned. Having said that, I want you people to make sure that we win this state this time around,” he stressed.
The party’s national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu expressed confidence that Atiku would win in all the states in the North Central geo-political zone in the next year’s general elections. “I don’t want to come here and campaign because the whole of North Central, where I come from, is not going to disgrace me.
“Every state in this zone is going to be won by the PDP. Atiku is going to get his highest vote in the North central zone. Luckily for us, Lafia is the political capital of North Central. When we started this democratic journey in 1999, Nasarawa was a PDP state. The current national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, was made by the PDP.
“Without the PDP, there would have been no Abdullahi Adamu. So, Nasarawa State is not a state for any other party. Everybody that was in another party has come back to PDP,” Ayu said.
Also addressing the crowd, the vice presidential candidate, and Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, described Atiku as the man that would turn things around. He urged the people to trust Atiku, even as he charged them to get to work and deliver their state for the PDP on February 25, 2023.
“The PDP has gone out well by giving us a good product, and when you have a good product, it is not hard to sell it. The product the PDP has given to us today is Atiku Abubakar,” he added.
The Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, in his remarks, lauded the women, youths, elders and stakeholders in Nasarawa State for their large turnout and warm reception. “I am convinced that when it is time to announce the results, that of Nasarawa will be announced first as PDP has won Nasarawa before any other state. You should vote for Atiku Abubakar, you should vote for PDP. You should make PDP five over five.
“Let me tell you that there is the belief now that PDP is the reigning party because it is the only party that has something as a social contract with the youths. So, we want you to know that it is no longer five over six, but six over six,” he said.
However, the former vice president will have to contend with the presence of the APC national chairman, Adamu, who is also a former governor, Tanko Al Makura, who is also a former governor and senator as well as the state governor, Abdullahi Sule, who had on many occasions appeared on television programmes to express his determination to deliver Nasarawa State for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC.
He is going to also contend with the force of the Labour Party led by Peter Obi, who on a daily basis gains prominence in the eyes of businessmen, artisans and many youths in the state.
Atiku must also note the fact that the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) led by Abdullahi Yakubu Maidoya is also gaining prominence from the ordinary northern youth in the state, (Talakawas, Kwankwasia) with his bold criticism of the present administration and also going door to door to woo voters to their presidential candidate.
Among those who were present at the PDP rally in Nasarawa State were the former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, the governorship candidate, David Ombugadu, and the state PDP chairman, Francis Orogu.
Others included Sen. Dino Melaye, Governor Udom Emmanuel, Sokoto State Governor and DG Campaign Council, Aminu Tambuwal, Dr. Ayu and party stalwarts as well as some other members of the National Assembly from the party.