The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) campaign trail moved to Ilorin, the capital of the North-central state of Kwara, wednesday with its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, urging Nigerians not to sell their future by succumbing to alleged moves by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to buy their permanent voter cards (PVCs) for as little as N10.
Chastising the APC for failing to fulfill its promises to Nigerians since 2015 at the North-central zonal rally of the PDP, Atiku advised Nigerians not to allow APC humiliate them by buying their PVCs.
As Atiku spoke in Ilorin, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), the umbrella body of about 45 major opposition parties, boosted his chance in the presidential race when it announced the former vice president as the consensus candidate of the opposition in the February 2019 election.
Atiku spoke to an excited huge crowd, saying it was time to return Nigeria to the PDP because the best years of the country were when the PDP governed the country.
He said, “Today, we have listened to the failures of the APC government since 2015 till today. There is nothing they have not promised us; they promised us security, jobs and better economy, they failed.
“In terms of corruption, Nigeria is worse off today than we were in 2014. In terms of economy, we are the poorest country in the world today. In terms of insecurity, we are the most insecure than at any other time in history.
“This is what the APC is doing. They are buying PVCs. They will come to you and give you N10, N20, N50 to buy your PVC. They are buying your future.”
Warning Nigerians against selling their PVCs, Atiku noted that APC would use it against them.
Atiku told them, “Whatever they have promised, they failed. It is time for you people to return this country to PDP because the best years of this country were when the PDP was governing our country from 1999 to 2015.”
Also speaking at the rally, the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, lamented that in 2015, security challenges in the country was limited to the North-east, saying the security challenges have since escalated and spread to North-west and even North-central.
He added that the current administration has not only failed in the fight against corruption, but has failed to tackle security and fight poverty and hunger.
“We must find a president that can address the issue of security in this country; but more importantly, we must find a president that will address the economy because the hunger is serious today in Nigeria.” On his part, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, said that the party is on a mission to rescue the country from the shackles of the ruling APC.
He said that the party is moving forward to stop the sufferings of Nigerians, warning the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against rigging in the 2019 elections.
Others, who spoke along the same line include, former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki; former governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu; Senator Musa Ibrahim Kwankwaso, Senator Ahmadu Ali; Mr. Peter Obi and others.
CUPP Endorses Atiku
Swelling Atiku’s chances in the presidential election, CUPP, the umbrella body of about 45 major opposition parties, few hours after a closed door deliberation at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja wednesday announced the former vice president as the consensus candidate of the opposition in the 2019 election.
Former governor of Osun State and Convener of CUPP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who made the disclosure while addressing a press conference held at Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, said the former vice president met the criteria used in the choice of a presidential candidate for the coalition.
Oyinlola said the CUPP, an umbrella body of 45 registered political parties in the alliance arrived at the decision based on the candidate’s (Atiku) experience in administration, management of economy and politics.
“After a painstaking assessment of what we have across the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability using these criteria, the steering committee hereby submits that a former vice president and candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the best and his party the most virile of all the options before us,’’ the former governor stated.
Oyinlola, who was assisted by National Chairman of Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Peter Ameh, during the briefing said, “We, therefore, choose him as the CUPP candidate for the 2019 presidential election.”
The convener, who charged members of the coalition to hit the ground running, reminded them that their main challengers are already in war mood, having launched what they called ‘’THE NEXT LEVEL.’’
He added, “We must prove to them that we are the masters in this enterprise and tell them that the Nigerian people would not follow them (the APC) to THE NEXT EVIL scheme they have designed for our country.”
He said that the national acceptability of candidate and party, strength of the structure of candidate and party across the country, competitiveness of the candidate’s party vis-a-vis our major challenger, the APC, financial strength of candidate and party, access to financial resources, capacity and readiness to prosecute the election across the about 120,000 polling units in the country, were the criteria used in picking Atiku.
Secondus: Vote Atiku to Rescue Nigeria from Hunger
At the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, as part of activities flagging-off the party’s zonal presidential campaign for North-central, Secondus urged Nigerians to vote for Atiku to rescue Nigeria from hunger.
According to him, “The nation is currently suffering from hunger and insecurity. There is need for a competent and well experienced Nigerian to come on board to save us. As we are all aware that Nigeria is in distress and we are in dire need of a well-connected leader to rescue us.
“There is no iota of truth in the claims that the crowd that you saw during our visit to Sokoto State was people hired from Niger Republic. They are our genuine supporters and that was a clear indication that people are tired of the current government.
‘’We are here to receive your blessings and permission to talk to our people and seek their votes for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi.”
Still in the Emir’s Palace, Saraki, thanked the emir for honouring the team and urged him to support the party in prayers always.
In his remarks, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Traditional Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, urged the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, to be an unbiased umpire in the 2019 general elections.
He also advised the judiciary to act independently of all arms of government in order to discharge its roles as the last hope of the common man in the country.
“Your ambition is clear, legitimate and you need the protection of God for you to move round the nation for campaigns. Nigeria is so connected and we need to respect each other. I wish you all the best and Allah’s protections always,” the Emir advised.
In his short address at the palace, the PDP presidential candidate disclosed that he has been close with the emir since his days when the emir was on the bench as a judge, while he was a public servant. He promised to maintain his age-long closeness with the Ilorin emirate and further chart way forward for the development of the state and nation at large if elected as president in 2019.
South-West’s Votes Belong to Us, Says PDP
Meanwhile, PDP has boasted that votes from the South-west region belong to it, saying the South-west presidential zonal rally scheduled for Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, today will enable it deepen consultation with leaders of the zone in the consensus to dislodge the ruling APC, in the 2019 general elections.
The PDP Presidential Campaign Organization’s (PPCO) spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said the geo-political zone is too sophisticated and educationally exposed to allow “certificate forgers, incompetent leaders and fraudulent elements to brazenly continue to sit over their affairs, especially with arrogant show of disdain and official intimidation.”
According to him, “The South-west presidential zonal rally is another major step in galvanising the people of the zone in their long-standing aspiration to rally with a new president to liberate their political and economic fortunes from the stranglehold of APC’s oppressive and exploitative oligarchy.
“The PPCO notes that the South-west zone has already embraced its presidential candidate, Atiku, because of his proven capacity, transparency and all-inclusive stance, which the region requires to move forward and realise its full potential that have been retarded by the Muhammadu Buhari incompetent, oppressive, corrupt and divisive administration.
“The South-west holds a leading position in many critical sectors and will no longer allow a modern day expansionist to continue to sequester and dominate the economy of the people, while making maximum enrichment for himself and a few acolytes at the detriment of majority of the citizenry.
“This APC expansionist and his cronies have looted the resources of the South-west and made life miserable for the people through forceful territorial occupation, direct stealing of public funds, annexing of public property and income generating institutions; multiple taxation, which proceeds are directed to private purses, as well as harsh financial regulations, which have crippled many businesses, particularly in the South-west.’’
Describing the South-west people as very resourceful, industrious and creative group and can, therefore, not thrive under lackluster, visionless, inept and corrupt Buhari administration, the council cautioned the people not to get carried away by the stipends being given to traders by the APC barely few months to the general elections.
This article originally appeared in THISDAY