Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential primary election scheduled for October 5 and 6 in Port Harcourt, the campaign organisation of one of the presidential aspirants, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said the aspirant is excited over assurances by the party’s delegates.
Speaking with THISDAY in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, when Governor Tambuwal kicked off his presidential campaign weekend, one of his close aides said, ‘’so far, we have assurances from eight governors and many of the states’ delegates; they have assured us of their full supports.’’
The aide, who is part of the campaign team and who pleaded anonymity because of his sensitive position in government, added that apart from formally kicking off his presidential campaign in Ebonyi State last Friday, the presidential hopeful had been reaching out to the party’s leaders and other stakeholders across the country secretly for support, saying the ‘’feedbacks have been very assuring.’’
While also speaking with THISDAY, a former House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Communication and close political associate of the aspirant said the ‘’strong democratic credentials’’ of Governor Tambuwal, coupled with his ‘’humility, resilient character, accessibility and detribalised nature’’ are his selling points.
He added, “Wherever he is — in all states of the federation, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal always feels at home. He is very young; his respect for the elders, his humility and his capacity to relate with different groups, are what is attracting him to many Nigerians. And we are very confident he will win the presidential primary, and by the grace of God, he will be the next president of Nigeria in 2019.’’
Receiving Tambuwal at the Government House in Abakaliki on Friday, the state governor, Chief David Umahi, said the people of the state were desirous to see someone like the Sokoto State Governor becoming Nigeria’s president in 2019.
Umahi, who spoke through the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, said it was an honour to the government and people of the state that Governor Tambuwal chose the state as the place to kick off his campaign to become the party’s flag bearer.
The governor said he holds the aspirant in high esteem for his competent handling of the Speakership of the House of Representatives while he held that office.
He extolled the virtues of Tambuwal as a democrat, saying that he is eminently qualified to be president of Nigeria, adding that anyone who could govern Sokoto State and bring stability to the state can rule Nigeria.
He added, “We feel honoured that Tambuwal chose to kick-start his campaign from the South-east and Ebonyi state in particular. Tambuwal’s democratic credentials are not in doubt. Your records of leadership in the House of Reps are there for all to see.
“I believe that if there’s anyone eminently qualified to be president of Nigeria, Tambuwal will be one of the five persons to consider. As leader of the legislature and state chief executive, Tambuwal can bring his experience to bear in handling the intricate challenges of governance and leadership.
“Sokoto is one of the most important states in Nigeria and anyone who can govern Sokoto and bring stability to that state can effectively rule Nigeria. Ebonyi State people are only looking for that man who will come from Sokoto or Kano or Taraba and look at Ebonyi as one of the states in Nigeria and not just one of the new states in the country.
On his part, Governor Tambuwal appealed to Nigerians to come together and rescue the country from the near collapse under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Condemning what he described as primordial policies and exclusionary attitude of the present leadership at the national level, the presidential aspirant said that the country had never been so divided along ethnic and religious line than now.
Tambuwal urged PDP members and delegates to present to Nigerians, an alternative to what the country currently has at the centre.
According to him, ‘’We need an alternative to the present leader that is grossly incompetent; we should present a leadership that is dynamic and has proper understanding of the constitution of the structures of Nigeria and democratic institutions; a leader that will follow the rule of law.
‘’The economy is not performing under this administration because the present leadership lacks understanding on how to make it works. We, therefore, need a leadership that has the capacity to bring together, the best of the brains that will make things work for the betterment of our great country.
‘’We need a leader that will put aside primordial sentiments, when it comes to getting the best brains to work for the best interest of our country, and when assigning national assignments; all these I will do if you elect me as the candidate of our party, and by the grace of Almighty God the president of Nigeria.’’
He said the unity of Nigeria was seriously being threatened, saying, it has never be this bad in the history of this country, saying the country needs a leader that has the capacity to bring everybody together and hold it together.
‘’We need a leader who will go to Akwa Ibom, Edo, Enugu, Adamawa, Oyo and other states, and will feel very much at home; a leader that is accessible and feels the entire country. We will present alternative that will be a sharp departure from the past’’, Tambuwal further stated.
‘’We have a responsibility to rescue our country from the drifting at the moment. I am sure we know what is going on in Nigeria; we are all feeling the pain of poverty in our country; the absence of the rule of law and the abuse of power by the current administration.’’
He promised to run an inclusive government, where all Nigerians will feel a sense of belonging.