Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, launched his campaign yesterday in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, with a promise to boost the nation’s economy, combat insecurity, and bring Nigerians together.
At a meeting on Sunday night, governors and other party supporters from the South-South geopolitical zone agreed to band together and put out great effort to free Nigeria from its current quagmire during the 2023 general elections.
Speaking at the rally, Abubakar said: “Nigeria wants to be like Akwa Ibom. Do you know why? Because since 1999, you have not changed party, but you can see the development that is taking place here in Akwa Ibom.
”You can see the prosperity that is taking place in Akwa Ibom, the security that is available in Akwa Ibom. So the rest of Nigeria would like to be like Akwa Ibom.
“We want to dedicate the launching of this campaign to the achievements of Akwa Ibom PDP for good governance.
“When PDP came to power in 1999, we met Nigeria in a state of poverty, insecurity, hunger, 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 progressed, but when Nigerians said they wanted to change, they voted for change in 2015.
“What we have seen is poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity. Our children are no longer going to school. Is that what we want to continue?
“So, today (yesterday), we have inaugurated the flag off of our campaign to rescue Nigeria from hunger, to rescue Nigeria from poverty, and also bring back the unity that we require in this country.
“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, and it would be a return to unity, a return to your safety. There would be no more hunger, and 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.”
Atiku’s vice presidential candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, also spoke and compared Nigeria’s predicament to a battle that “requires a general like Atiku to rescue it.”
He said: “We cannot afford to allow lieutenants to lead because they will lead us to doom.
“Other parties are presenting lieutenants, and only PDP can rebuild the nation where people can trust one another. Atiku is ready to take the bull by the horns.”
Okowa, the governor of Delta State, reiterated his call for the creation of state police, which he claims would help to confront the nation’s growing insecurity and reestablish public trust.
Similarly, the governor of Kwa Ibom State and chairman of the campaign council, Udom Emmanuel, blasted the All Progressive Congress for what he claimed to be poor leadership, which was demonstrated by hyperinflation, insecurity, and other issues.
The governor, who urged the electorate to vote for the PDP to return the country to its lost glory, said: “The campaigns to restore Nigeria, the parts of our unity, even the parts of our unity that has been fractured, restore faith and hope in our common dreams and aspirations begins today (yesterday).
“Poverty today has got to misery indices. When PDP handed over power, exchange rate was N186 to a dollar.
“Today, the exchange rate is almost N800 to a dollar. When PDP handed over power, Nigeria had the largest economy in the entire Africa. Today all those indices have been battered.
“Today, we want to flag off the hope for Nigeria, we want to flag off the rescue mission to Nigeria, we want to flag off the restoration mood for Nigeria.
“We want to tell Nigerians, the ship is beginning to sail today, we want to tell Nigerians, the train is moving today.”
Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s chairman, urged enraged members to put down their weapons and concede that there was room for everyone in the party.
Meanwhile, five disgruntled governors—Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State, and Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State—refused to participate in the campaign, widening the rift within the party.