—PDP’ll win Lagos, 24 other states in 2023, says Ayu
By Jide Ajani, General Editor, John Alechenu & Olayinka Ajayi
FORMER Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, disclosed that a draft amendment bill for the restructuring of Nigeria was ready and would be introduced to lawmakers on the first day of sitting of the 10th Assembly, next year, as an Executive Bill.
Alhaji Abubakar also said that whereas he would not release the document now, Nigerians should be rest assured that issues of resource control, which continued to be a major talking-point in the restructuring sphere, as well as devolution of power and state police were on the card.
The PDP standard bearer spoke on a day National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, expressed confidence that the party would make history by displacing the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, not only in Lagos State but also in at least 24 other states, in addition to the Presidency in 2023.
Speaking to members of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, yesterday, at Marriot Hotel, Lagos, the PDP presidential candidate explained that both the amendment bill and his five-point agenda, which he tagged ‘My Covenant With Nigerians’, were products of wide consultations and expert advice.
He said he assembled a team of experts with whom he had series of sessions to branstorm on pathways for Nigeria’s return to greatness.
Restructuring Bill is ready
Abubakar said: “In preparing the draft restructuring amendment bill, what I did was to assemble a team of lawyers, who are some of the best in the country.
”I picked lawyers from each of the six geo-political zones so that each zone would have representation and a sense of belonging in what we were packaging for Nigerians and also to take into account the interests of each component part of the country.
“What they have come up with, after series of sessions, is a draft bill that is ready as I speak to you. The bill is ready and it would be presented to the National Assembly on the first day of their sitting, after inauguration.
“Mind you, the process of amending the constitution involves the Executive, the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly. So, on the first day of sitting, I will present the bill”.
On the specific areas the bill will cover, the PDP candidate revealed that one of the major issues agitating the minds of Nigerians whenever restructuring was discussed, was the issue of resource control.
“The bill will cut across all spheres of restructuring, and resource control is accommodated in it,” he said.
Responding to a question on security, Abubakar said more boots were needed on the ground.
According to him, doubling the number of policemen in the country to about 700,000 will help with the challenge of policing, while at the same time reducing unemployment.
“By the time you also do the same thing in the military, we would have more men and boots on ground and we would also be reducing unemployment in the country.
”The issue of devolution and state police are also issues for amendment and these are things contained in our restructuring package to be sent to the National Assembly.”
‘My Covenant With Nigerians’
The candidate also discussed his five-point development agenda which seeks to: “Restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, social justice as well as co-operation and consensus among our heterogenous peoples.
“Establish a strong and effective democratic government that guarantees the safety and security of life and property.
“Build a strong, resilient and prosperous economy that creates jobs and wealth and lifts the poor out of poverty.
“Promote a true federal system, which will provide for a strong Federal Government to guarantee national unity while allowing the federating units to set their own priorities.
“Improve and strengthen the education system to equip its recipients with the education and skills required to be competitive in the new global order which is driven by innovation, science and technology and to lead healthy, productive, meaningful lives”.
On the economy, the former Vice President said his administration would simply continue what was started by the PDP administration between 1999 and 2007.
“My administration will continue the liberalisation and free market economy, which we started in 1999 to 2007. We will empower the private sector to do more and we will continue with the privatisation policy.
“The greatest economies in the world are driven by the private sector, so, why should Nigeria be different.
“Construction of ports, railway, highways and infrastructure require a lot of money, which is not available, so, why not give the private sector the necessary incentives and create an enabling environment. We plan to give them concessions and all that are needed to create jobs and prosperity for all.”
On how to forge unity in the country, Atiku Abubakar embarked on a voyage of recollection, going back to what PDP did at inception in 1999:
“Let me remind you, because most of those who would be voting in this election were born around 1999 and they would not have known what happened at that time. And that is one of the reasons history must be brought back and taught in our schools.
“As far back as 1994 at the National Confab, we agreed that the transition that would usher in a civilian administration would produce only contestants from tne South. That was why it produced two southerners in the 1999 presidential election.
“When our PDP administration was sworn-in, we brought in members of the opposition to join in forming the government. From the All Peoples Party, APP, and the Alliance for Democracy, AD, we appointed ministers and other top officials of government. That is one of the ways to forge unity.
“When I’m sworn-in, I will form a government of national unity”.
Speaking on security, he said “the heads of the 17 security agencies in the country are northerners but that is not what I will do.
“Every geo-political zone of the country will have its slot in the appointment of heads of security agencies. That is how to forge unity”.
While responding to the crisis rocking the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar said it was a family affair and would soon be resolved.
“Talks are ongoing and I believe we will resolve our family issue soon. It’s a family affair and we will soon resolve it,” he said.
The event, which was well attended by members and fellows of the NGE, also had loyalists and campaign managers of the PDP candidate in attendance.
They include Chairman of the Campaign Council, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; DG of the Campaign Council, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Special Envoy to the Council, former Senate President Bukola Saraki; presidential aspirants Dr. Ohuabunwa and Alhaji Hayatudeen.
Chief Timi Alaibe; Ndudi Elumelu; Senator Dino Melaye; former Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Shagari; Chief Dele Momodu; Lagos State PDP governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), Mr. Kola Ologbodinyan, among others, were also in attendance.
2023: PDP’ll win Lagos, 24 other states, says Ayu
Meanwhile, National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has expressed confidence that the party would make history by displacing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), not only in Lagos State but across at least 24 other states in addition to the Presidency come 2023.
Ayu, who stated this said this in Abuja, while receiving the second leg (report) of the Special Reconciliation Committee (Lagos/Osun PDP), headed by Chief Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), admitted that although PDP’s political outlook in Lagos was before now abysmal, the excellent work done by the Jegede-led committee had increased the PDP’s electoral fortunes ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Ayu said: “Lagos was in very bad shape before now but because of your excellent reconciliation work, our chances of taking Lagos State have been greatly enhanced.
“We are now sure of victory. We will take Alausa, and clear the state and National Assembly seats.
“We won in Osun State. And we will repeat the feat in Lagos. I am reiterating my often-stated position that the PDP will win the presidency and at least 25 governorships across the country. And those 25 states include Lagos State. This is why we want all party members to work together.
“We defeated my good friend, the Lion of Bourdilon, Bola Tinubu, in his home-state of Osun. We now want to crown it in Lagos, his state of residence. He is already shouting it: ‘God bless PDP.’ By early next year, we will start celebrating our new 25 governors-elect, Lagos inclusive.
“Earlier, the Chairman of the Reconciliation Committee, Chief Eyitayo Jegede, thanked the party for giving him and other members the privilege to serve the party as peace ambassadors.
“When we submitted the first leg of our report, I said Osun State was winnable and doable. I use this opportunity to congratulate the National Working Committee, NWC, and the people of Osun State for the well-deserved victory in the Osun guber-election.
“Thanks to our modest efforts, Lagos looks good too. Lagos PDP is more cohesive today than when we took reconciliation there. And, by God’s grace, PDP will sweep Lagos in February next year. Lagos has never had a PDP governor, but we will change it come 2023.”
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