…We’ll be guided by Osun playbook
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Thursday brought its Presidential Campaign rallies to an end, with an assurance that its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will coast home to victory in Saturday’s election.
Addressing a press conference, on Thursday, at the party’s Presidential campaign headquarters in Abuja, PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus thanked Nigerians for what he called the overwhelming support the party received in the course of its zonal and state rallies across the nation.
“We concluded this campaign last week Thursday hoping to have picked our deserved victory last Saturday but you all know what happened, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC failed to have the election as the All Progressives Congress, APC hawks that hijacked the operations of the commission failed, and chose to sabotage them to arm twist the commission into having their planned staggered election.
“Having failed to achieve that, they have turned the heat on the commission. Both the President and the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole has been attacking and intimidating the commission because they did not have their way.
“I wish to use this medium to sincerely appreciate all our party members particularly those who participated directly or indirectly in the campaigns especially in mobilizing our teeming supporters across the country. I also wish to thank Nigerians who overwhelmed us with their support in all the states and gave us the needed impetus to enter Saturday’s election as victors already,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to remain steadfast, saying intimidation should not change their resolve to settle for Atiku as their next President.
“When the President threatened the commission with probe after election, the intention was to frighten and cow them into playing along in the APC agenda.
“When they harassed, arrested and blocked bank accounts of the opposition stakeholders, what they want is to win at all cost.
“When they dragged military institutions into politics, the aim is to destroy that institution the way it’s doing to the legislature and the judiciary.
“But I urge you Nigerians to refuse to be intimidated or provoked but remain focussed and fix your eyes on the ball, which is victory coming up on Sunday,” he added.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Strategy Committee of the PDP Campaign Council, and former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka urged party members to be vigilant, adding that the events which played out in the Osun state governorship election are still fresh in the mind.
Thanking party members and supporters for their solidarity, Chidoka said their sacrifices will not be in vain.
“The PDP recognizes the undue financial burden placed on you by this delay elections postponement). We have a deep appreciation for all those who are doing their part to ease costs and help facilitate travel nation-wide.
“We also recognize and deeply appreciate the commitment to honoring our democratic process, displayed at a cost, by the international, regional and local observers, who have stayed on to help certify that when we vote, our vote will count.
“Today, I beseech all Nigerians to come out on Saturday 23rd February to vote and to make your power known at the ballot box.
“The PDP has taken lessons from the “Osun Playbook.” We have focused our efforts on giving you, the Nigerian people, the confidence that your vote, as expressed at the ballot box, will count.
“Local and international Observer groups have set up various models of vote tabulation that will enhance the credibility and validity of the election. All parties have had the privilege of reviewing the official Parallel Voter Tabulation, PVT system’s potential to scientifically and statistically validate the election within an acceptable margin of error,” he said.
The PDP pledged that upon his election, Atiku would within his first 100 days in office, “commence the process of restoring the credibility and independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in line with existing reports, white papers and international best practice.”
He called on the security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their duties, saying “For those who may wish to dishonour our democracy, especially the security agencies, we use this opportunity to sound a note of caution.
“We are a constitutional democracy and all organs and agencies of government must abide by the established rules and laws of our land. We assure the security agencies that our members will remain peaceful, law-abiding and vigilant.
“However, we are fully prepared to resist intimidation, extra judicial procedures and partisanship on the part of security agencies by reporting acts to the PDP national hotline 097 000 551 for onward broadcast to Nigerians and the World.
“We remind security agencies that it is only an election and not a war against Nigerians. The choice of language of the government and security chiefs leaves us with the impression that the peaceful election of 2015 is not the model for 2019 election.”
He continued: “As the party to beat in this election, we assure Nigerians that we are prepared to work with voters to #DefendYourVote. Our innovative Simultaneous Vote Count System, SVC, has been deployed to ensure that the result of the polling units remain the trusted source to validate the final collated results.
“The SVC is a crisis de-escalation mechanism that will assure that PDP members accept the results of a free and fair election and that the country remains peaceful and respectful of its differences.”
On his part, party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said Atiku’s stand on restructuring coupled with his readiness to tackle hunger will swing votes in his favour in Lagos, Kano and across major cities and geo-political zones across the country.