By Amos Etuk
There is renewed hope as expectations have become reality of the overwhelming determination of the people to get things right with the 2019 general elections at the doorsteps and the choice of new leadership to steer the country back to greatness.
The renewed hope of this renaissance stems from the utmost belief that as a nation, the polity today is at crossroads with the glaring emergence of a dictatorship rule by President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressive Congress who have stealthily set a machinery to plunge the nation into a constitutional crisis through selfish drive for power.
Except some form of divine intervention takes place, Nigeria is drifting down the lane of Venezuela and the unfolding events within the next few weeks will surely unveil the ‘’Road to Damascus’’. The current folding constitutional breaches on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen has further exposed the machinations of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to plunge the nation back to the dark days of the military junta as Nigerians rise to reject the impending political uncertainty.
For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there is a new hope for Nigeria especially with its presidential campaign slogan of ‘Let’s Get Nigeria Working Again’ and the suspension of its campaign for 72 hours to protest the unconstitutional removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria was a clear directive for Nigerians to know that the time has come as a people to chart a course that will protect and guarantee the polity against the tyranny of the present administration.
As such, the resumption of the Presidential Campaigns of the PDP could not have taken place at a better time and location than , Akwa Ibom State, a stronghold of the party and the best time to once again assert the strength of the party as the dominant choice for the people of the state.
It was meant to be a clarion call for the people of Akwa Ibom State, party faithful of the PDP to receive their Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar whose campaign train hit the South-south region in consolidation of the massive and sustained support the party has enjoyed since the return to democracy in 1999.
Upon arrival in Uyo, the serene capital of Akwa Ibom State, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in company of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel commissioned the Green House Project along the Airport Road, a milestone futuristic concept initiated by the present administration in enhancing and sustaining food sufficiency.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar further showed respect to the traditional institution in the state through a courtesy call and was honoured with a traditional title of Obong Emem (King Of Peace) by the Council of Chiefs presided by the Chairman and Paramount Ruler of Ini Local Government Area, HRH, Edidem Effiong Udo Akpan. It is noteworthy that no presidential candidate ever loses an election after being crowned a chief by the Akwa Ibom State royal fathers.
The Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, the venue for the historic Presidential Campaign Rally was a beehive of activities with the gathering of political leaders, stakeholders and party faithful as a clear message was being sent to Nigeria that His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State sits firmly on a Divine to steer the course of his party, the PDP towards a second successive tenure during the general election.
The records can never be twisted that Akwa Ibom State has been governed by leaders of the PDP since the return of democracy in 1999 and the laudable achievements recorded that have taken the state to international recognition has been achieved on the platform of the party.
The party has never lost any election at the state level from the presidential to the state legislature and the coming of the Atiku/Obi ticket to Akwa Ibom has been described as a home coming and a re-assurance that the Divine Mandate structure led by Governor Udom Emmanuel is clearly on ground ahead of the expected victory of the party.
The arrival of the presidential campaign team at the venue at about 3.47pm was heralded with a thunderous welcome by the thousands of supporters who filled the 30,000 capacity stadium as Alhaji Abubakar, Mr. Obi, Governor Udom Emmanuel and other leaders of the party acknowledged the massive support from party faithful as the overwhelming show of support for the party further confirmed that other political parties in the state may have lost pace in the catch-up race to the Hilltop Mansion.
The State Chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo set the tone for the campaign rally with assurances that the gathering was another historic outing to once again affirm the dominance and broad based support for the party across the state and Nigeria.
‘’Today, we witness a confirmation that our great party remains united with a stronghold that can never be penetrated and we wish to assure Nigerians that the PDP is coming back to get Nigeria working again. We will never be intimidated by the so called ‘’federal might’’ of the APC, we have the people and we will defend our votes accordingly,’’ Ekpo Obong who also doubles as the Chairman of all Chapters of the PDP in the country boldly stated.
For Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, the Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District who spoke on behalf of the National Assembly Caucus, the battle to save Nigeria must be executed with all humane resistance as the plot of the APC must be resisted. He decried the rise of tyranny in the country and assured Governor Emmanuel and Alhaji Abubakar that Akwa Ibom State will surely deliver on the path of history with the PDP.
‘’The people of Uyo Senatorial District and Akwa Ibom State are resolute and we remain behind Governor Emmanuel till 2023. No man can come and determine and change the destiny of the state. The APC is a gathering of vultures and we will resist the machinations of tyrannic leaders. Akwa Ibom State belongs to the PDP and we believe that Governor Udom will win his second term, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will emerge as Nigeria’s next President as well as victory for all other candidates of the party. The people you have seen today are from Akwa Ibom State. They remain steadfast with our party.’’
The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke who spoke on behalf of the state legislature charged Nigerians to resist the attempt by a dictator to alter the principles of separation of powers as the country was on the threshold of history. He said that recent events had clearly shown that the APC had totally lost any template to change the course of the economy of Nigeria. He further assured the leaders of the party that the PDP will consolidate her dominance in the state and will resist the selfish pursuit of the opposition in the state.
‘’We are not intimidated in Akwa Ibom State. We have kept faith with Governor Emmanuel and the PDP. We are marching to change the face of political governance in Nigeria and on February 16, 2019 the PDP will return to national dominance. We will never be cowed by any individual. We have God by us. We are ready for any plot they will bring. This is Akwa Ibom State, it belongs to the PDP.‘’
For Governor Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, every campaign rally, his support base swells across the State and his re-election looks like a done deal, the campaign rally of the Presidential Campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party was just to show Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that the state is ‘’Atikulated’’ and on the path of a comeback at the centre for the economy to be on track.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor said that the APC had failed the country and that detractors from the state will be put to shame while further assuring that the coming PDP led federal government will work to re-structure the already battered economy with laudable programmes.
‘’We will support and vote Alhaji Atiku Abubakar whose agenda is get Nigeria working. Today, we have commissioned the Green House Project, our target is to ensure we are not hungry. We will continue in our completion agenda to sustain food sufficiency in Nigeria,” Governor Udom said.
‘’The only candidate with an understanding of the workings of the economy, with a policy thrust that can get Nigeria working again, that has love for the people and is not divorced from the realities of the people is our candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and we cannot miss this opportunity. This is not a borrowed crowd from another state, this is not a zonal rally, these massive support you have seen here are the people of Akwa Ibom State,’’ Governor Udom said.
Her Excellency, Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel, the First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, said it was time to show Nigerians that Akwa Ibom State remains a forte of the PDP, in her words, ‘’There is only PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Governor Udom Emmanuel will work together in making Nigeria great again.”
For Her Excellency, Mrs Margaret Peter Obi, Wife of the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, a proud daughter of Akwa Ibom State, it was time for Nigerians to end the present sufferings being borne on them by the APC, by voting the party and its cohorts out.
‘’My people, we have all experienced hardship under this federal government and that is why I want you to support our incoming President and my husband because they will alleviate our sufferings. With me your daughter as Wife of the Vice President, Akwa Ibom will have a steady presence in the corridors of power. Akwa Ibom will not disappoint their son-in law,’’ Mrs Margaret Obi who spoke in the native dialect told an excited crowd of party faithful.
For Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, the voice of the people is the voice of God ‘’ No man can play God, if you try to play God, He will bring you down. The voice of the people is the voice of God,’’ he said.
For the man of the moment and future hope of Nigeria’s greatness Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, it was an emotional homecoming for him to Akwa Ibom State as he re-affirmed his commitment to serve and bring Nigeria back under a process that will enhance prosperity for future generations.
‘’When you elect me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will in partnership with Governor Udom Emmanuel whom you will re-elect, build a refinery in Akwa Ibom State. I don’t discriminate. Udom is a dependable team player with whom I will industrialize Nigeria and Akwa Ibom in particular for the creation of jobs and wealth for the teeming youths,” Alhaji Atiku Abubakar assured the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The message from Akwa Ibom State to Nigeria is simple, clear and realistic. The choice of the people has been made, the Peoples Democratic Party has become a religion in the state, a winning party with proven track records of multiple achievements and that the future that comes after the general elections still finds much faith in the leadership of the party to steer Akwa Ibom and Nigeria into the new decade of exploits with leaders setting new templates for good governance.
With the will of the people on the right side of history, Governor Udom Emmanuel can look forward to consolidating on his strides in his second term and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar pursuing the course of getting Nigeria back on track as President of Nigeria.