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*Yuguda, Mu’azu, Yayale, others join party
From Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
President Muhammadu Buhari was received in Bauchi Saturday by a massive crowd of party supporters who gathered at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium for the flag-off of the All Progressive Congress campaign.
At the rally, 18 prominent politicians, including two former governors – Isa Yuguda and Ahmed Adamu Muazu – immediate past Deputy National Chairman (North) of the PDP, Babayo Garba Gamawa, and former SGF, Yayale Ahmed, officially defected to the party.
The President, speaking during the flag-off of the gubernatorial and presidential campaign, said Bauchi remains one of his strongholds, expressing confidence that his victory is assured in the state.
Buhari said the mandate given to him by Nigerians required their support, especially for peace and economic development of the country, and assured that his administration would use all the recovered looted funds for the well-being of the citizens.
He also promised that his administration, if re-elected in the 2019 general elections, will continue to make life easier for all Nigerians, adding that as promised in 2014, his administration will continue the fight against corruption and insecurity in the country.
While making reference to the 1983 coup that truncated the Second Republic, Buhari explained that at the end of the day his actions were vindicated, explaining that it was that vindication that prompted him to seek political power after leaving the army.
The President then called on the people of Bauchi state to ensure that they voted for the APC candidates in the 2019 general elections to enable the party complete all ongoing people-oriented developmental projects and programmes across the country.
While speaking at the rally, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said that the fundamental issues of the campaign were the pronouncements by the PDP presidential candidate to sell the NNPC just as they sold out NITEL, NEPA, Nigerian Airways and other government agencies saying that the people should resist that move by not voting for them.
On the claim that the APC was accommodating all corrupt politicians in its fold so that they will escape prosecution in the fight against corruption, the APC national chairman declared that, “no individual is bigger than the state, anyone indicted for corruption will be made to face the wrath of the law, no matter his or her status”.
Oshiomhole declared that, “with what I have seen here today, the APC has already won the general elections. I am therefore calling on you to ensure that you vote for all of the candidates of the APC from top to down during the general elections.”
The Bauchi State Governor, Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar, acknowledged the successes recorded by the Buhari-led administration in the areas of poverty alleviation.
The governor appealed to the people of the state to declare their total support for the reelection of all the APC candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
In his speech, immediate former governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, begged for forgiveness from President Muhammadu Buhari for what he described as “mistakes of the past” done to the President during the electioneering campaign of 2014 when his administration denied the APC the use of the Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa Stadium.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, the two term Governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda, further said that, “as the Chairman of Federation Allocation Committee then, the then Minister of Finance told me that the economy of the country was in a terrible position and that was how we left the country in 2015.”
Yuguda then assured the President that “now that we are back into the APC fold, we will work assiduously to ensure that the APC wins the 2019 elections in a landslide manner even much more than it got in 2015”.
in his own remarks, the former National Chairman (North) of the PDP, Babayo Garba Gamawa, assured the President that he and his supporters will work for his reelection, adding that all the candidates of the APC will win convincingly.