* Nigeria must return to path of development, says Jonathan
By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stoking the embers of violence in his campaigns.
This is as he urged Nigerians to reject any leader who tries to pit Nigerians against each other.
This comes as the former President Goodluck Jonathan also urged Nigerians to vote the PDP to return the country to the path of development.
Addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters at the PDP mega rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt Monday, Atiku said it was worrisome that a president would be inciting the citizens to violence when he should be preaching peace.
He accused Buhari of encouraging the people of Zamfara to violence when he visited them on Sunday.
He said: “Do you know what the president said yesterday (Sunday) in Zamfara? He told the people: Let us pray for rainfall; let us pray we grow food; let us pray we eat well; then we can make trouble. Is that what a president should say? Buhari, I am addressing you.
“This is a president who is preaching violence. And this is not the first time he has done so in this country. We are not going to allow any person to knock our heads together and make us fight.
“We want peace. We want development. We want prosperity. We want jobs. These are the things we want for this country. We are not ready to fight each other again. So, any leader who has come to instigate us to fight against each other, we will use our ballot paper to throw him out. Buhari must go.”
He also assured the people that he would protect the constitution if elected.
“I assure you that I will protect the constitution. Nobody has gone to court more than me to protect the constitution. I will protect separation of powers. I will not interfere with the National Assembly because I believe in checks and balances. I will not interfere with the judiciary because it is part and parcel of our checks and balances. I will uphold the rule of law. I will not allow rule of law to be trampled by anybody,” he said.
Atiku also assured the people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta that he would pursue restructuring of the country to ensure the development of all parts of the country.
“I am the author of restructuring. I will give it to Rivers State. I will give it to Niger Delta. We must restructure,” he said.
He also noted that it was under the Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku presidency that the East-west Road was initied and vowed to ensure its speedy completion.
“The ports in Port Harcourt and Onne are dead under the APC. We will reactivate them so that we can create jobs for thousands of youths in Rivers State,” he said.
He accused the APC of not executing any projects in Rivers State or the Niger Delta region in the past four years and promised to reverse the trend when elected.
Also addressing the rally, former President Jonathan lamented that all indices of development had recorded negative growth since the APC came to power and called on the people to return the PDP to power if the country would be on the path of development again.
“The only person that can lead the country out of the woods now is Atiku. He will not discriminate between 95 and five per cent. He will treat all parts of the country equally. He has been tested and can be trusted. A vote for Atiku, PDP, is a vote for progress,” he said.
Atiku’s running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, also said it is only the PDP that can restore Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta to what it should be through restructuring and creation of jobs.
The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, stated that the APC was now in disarray with the collapse of the North-west earlier considered a stronghold of the party.
“You saw what happened in Kano yesterday. It was a tsunami. The North-west is now for PDP. The APC is now in disarray, desperate and confused. They cannot gather the people again; that was why (Governor) el-Rufai will talk about ‘body bags’, the language of a terrorist,” he said.
The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike assured the campaign team that Rivers State would vote massively for the PDP as that is the only party that the people of the state believe in.