…Calls for unity
… Ignore doom Sayers – Emmanuel
….Wike, Makinde, Ortom, others absent
John Alechenu, Abuja
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has flagged off his campaign with an appeal to all party members to join him in the task of seeking the mandate of Nigerians to rebuild the nation.
Atiku made the appeal in his address to the 600 members of the 2023 PDP Presidential Campaign Council, during their inauguration, in Abuja, yesterday.
The PDP candidate said Nigeria was in such a bad state that it would require the support of all party members as well as Nigerians to achieve the daunting task of rebuilding the nation.
Atiku said, “Even though this body is nominally styled ‘Presidential Campaign Council’, in reality, it is a General Elections Council.
“Because, of what use or benefit is a victory of the presidential candidate alone, without a sweeping victory of all our other candidates at all of the elections taking place next year?”
He further said, “So, what is our task that we are gathered here today to undertake? It is beyond merely coming together to inaugurate a Presidential Campaign Council.
“No! Our task today is to come together to rescue and rebuild our beloved country, Nigeria. That is the end goal.
“It is existential to us as a nation, and it is a task that history beckons upon us all to grasp with both hands and undertake with vigour and zeal.”
While appealing for unity within the party, Atiku said, “To rescue and rebuild our country, we must first takeover the mantle of leadership from the party that has driven us into this mess. To do this, we must all be united in purpose and come together to fight and win all the elections slated for next year.
“Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP.
“And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rescue, rebuild and reposition our beloved country, Nigeria.“
He noted that the day’s event was not an ordinary one because it provided another opportunity for party members to consider the urgency of the task ahead.
Atiku recalled that, “In May 2015, Our Great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in an orderly, peaceful and rancour free manner, handed over the reins of government at the centre to the opposition party, the APC, having lost the presidential elections a few months earlier.
“Four years later, in 2019, and in spite of the drift, economic desolation, challenges of insecurity and massive dislocations to the lives of our citizens witnessed under the APC government in those years, and notwithstanding that our great party had put before the Nigerian people, a demonstrably better plan for recovery and development of our nation, our party was, once again, schemed out in the elections held that year in the most devious manner.
“It is a testament to the patriotism, dedication to constitutionalism and law and order, and the unshakable belief in the rule of law and the supremacy of the courts in our land, that our great party, the PDP, chose and pursued redress in the one and only way laid down by law – through the courts. Of course, you all know how that ended so, there is no need to bore you with details.“
He further stated that, “Since the loss at the polls of 2019 till now, and under the watch of the current APC government, our dear country has witnessed a frightening descent into anarchy.
“Our nation is currently in the throes of a multidimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust, to mention a few.
“To start with, the current government has failed at the very essence of what makes a government: the security of lives and property of its citizens. Our security challenges are legion, and I do not need to bore you by rehashing them here.
“Our economy is in shambles, growth has stagnated, and our people are facing massive existential challenges daily. Hunger is the norm today in our country.
“Our nation is in disarray. The fabric of unity that binds our country is, today, being torn apart by mutual distrust, ethnic and sectarian strife and we are now more disunited than we have ever been in our history, including even when we fought a civil war.
“Our educational system is comatose. Nothing more underscores this than the twin embarrassing facts of the number of children that are currently out of school, and the length of time that University students have been kept out of their classrooms this year, as a result of the ASUU strike.
“Our system of government is broken. Our current system is unfair, unwieldy, skewed towards favouring the federal government at the expense of the other federating units, and has in itself, become a willing tool for underdevelopment.
“This kind of system of government is no longer suited to the challenges of a twenty first century economy that works for everyone and that is needed to bring development closer to our people.“
On his plans for Nigeria if PDP wins the elections, he said, “All hope is not lost. We have a plan to address these issues and to arrest the drift of our nation. These plans have been laid our in the document titled “My Covenant With Nigerians”.
“Our plans for Nigeria and Nigerians are as follows:
“To restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, social justice, mutual collaboration, and consensus among our diverse peoples.
“To build a strong and effective democratic government where the safety and security of our people and their property is our primary and singularly most important responsibility.
“To establish a strong, resilient, inclusive and prosperous economy that generates opportunity, jobs and wealth while lifting the poor out of poverty.
“To encourage the adoption of a true federal system that provides where all the federating units are equal, and has a fair and representative federal government that secures our borders, defends our people and ensures national unity, whilst allowing the federating units to develop and grow in line priorities which they have set on their own.
“To redevelop, invest in, and strengthen our education system in order to provide its recipients with the education and skills needed to compete in the new global order driven by innovation, science, and technology, as well as to live healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.
“To undertake these tasks, the members of our party, the PDP, have, graciously, granted me the ticket to lead the party in next year’s presidential elections, with the singular mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills.
He stressed that The tasks ahead may appear daunting; they may seem a load too heavy to bear. But, that for the sake of Nigeria, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of generations yet unborn, we must not, even for one minute, shirk in the responsibilities that we have been entrusted with to come together to rebuild this beloved country of ours.
While congratulating those who were chosen as council members, Atiku said, “You have been selected from among the millions of our party members to join this esteemed council because of your past contributions to the party.
“Naturally, not all members of our party can be in the Presidential Campaign Council. But every single member of the PDP is an important member of the party and each one of you is still entrusted with the responsibility of leading our party to victory in next year’s elections.
“Those of you who have not found yourselves in the Presidential Campaign Council are just as important as those who have, and we do not take your contributions for granted.”
Earlier, the PDP Deputy National Chairman, (North) Amb. Umaru Damagun, extended the apologies of the party’s National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, whom he said was in Europe for medicals.
He said, “I want to give the excuse of my national chairman who is unavoidably absent, who is far away in Europe addressing some health challenges, but he sent his goodwill message to all of you.”
Damagun noted that the woeful performance of the ruling All Progressives Congress, in contrast with the unrivaled outstanding performance of the PDP while in office for 16 years spoke volumes about what the PDP will do when given the chance.
He said the task of removing the APC from power was a patriotic duty.
The acting National Chairman said, “This is an ominous task that must be handed with all sense of patriotism to both the party and the nation.
“The legacies of our party while in government speaks volumes. We can no longer stay by the side and blow our trumpet.
“We have a duty to rescue this country from the clutches of those that want to destroy it. You will also recall that this country has witnessed a negative change since the PDP left government in 2015.
“Let me say that God has given us another opportunity to prove them wrongs in this election period. The PDP has brought out it’s best to you the members of the presidential campaign Council.”
Don’t mind doomsayers- Gov. Emmanuel
Chairman of the Campaign Council, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who spoke on behalf of other council members said, “I want to assure you that as a campaign council we have the seriousness, unity that is required. It our duty to campaign, to carry and Publicize the message on how to rescue and restore the hope of Nigerians. It is for Nigerians to vote and for the Almighty to give victory.
“I want to say here, don’t mind the doomsayers, I read every where all those doomsayers saying PDP here, PDP there, but I want to assure you that PDP is a solid Rock and we know that no matter the wind it will not move the Rock.
“So, irrespective of the wind that you see around the rock, it will not move the rock. The rock remains as solid as ever. Please don’t mind the doomsayers.
“We want to assure you that we are campaigning to win. Nothing is acceptable to PDP outside victory for PDP, But this will also require that all of us, we must also work.
“This time there is no sitting in Abuja, everybody will have to work had and carry the message home. PDP is not an Abuja party, you win from your unit, your ward and not by sitting in Abuja. The campaign council will take the message to the unit.
“If we had made mistakes in the past, we cannot wind down the clock, we cannot recall what passed yesterday, but we can move forward in the spirit of oneness, unity and progress.“
In his remarks, the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwual, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission should provide a level playing field for all parties.
While noting that the whole world was watching Nigeria, Tambuwual assured the party and the candidate that his committee would put in all the work needed for victory at the polls.
Some of the dignitaries who attended the event included: Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Adamawa, Ahmadu Fintri,
Former Presidents of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Anyim Pius Anyim, former Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’aba,
House Minority leader, Ndidi Elumelu, Acting National Chairman, Amb. Damagum, former National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Former Vice President, Arch. Nanamdi Sambo, The PDP Deputy National Chairman, South, Amb Taofeek Arapaja, the National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, among others.
Wike’s men shun event
However, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and most of his allies made good their threat to stay away from the council. Those who were absent include: Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde (Oyo) Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, Prof. Jerry Gana among others. End