Atiku: We’re Proud of Our Presidential Campaign Members
*PDP house candidates pledge support, five million votes
*Appeals to Wike to sheathe sword
*Party’s South-west publicity secretaries reject calls for Ayu’s resignation
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, commended his party for the choice of members of the presidential campaign council.
That was as PDP House of Representatives candidates in next year’s general election threw their weight behind Atiku’s presidential bid. They also pledged to deliver the 360 federal constituencies across the nation to the party.
In a statement, Atiku said regarding the campaign council, “It’s a list of people that Governor Okowa and myself are most proud of. I am sure you know that the leadership of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has released the names of esteemed party leaders, who are members of my Presidential Campaign Council.
“In the next few days, these leaders will be the crew of the ship that will sail us to victory and deliver the country from the stranglehold of the APC. There couldn’t have been a better captain for this critical mission than Governor Emmanuel Udom. But the list is never complete without you, dear friend.
“So, let me personally invite you on board as a member of my campaign team. We are bringing the campaign to you, because we recognise the importance of the wards and polling units structures in our quest to mobilise Nigerians to vote massively for the PDP in next year’s general election, starting with the presidential election.
“Mobilise your families, friends, colleagues, associates and neighbours at your polling units and always remember that as ONE, we shall get it right.”
PDP released the names of members of its presidential campaign council last week, with the Akwa Ibom State governor, Emmanuel Udom, as chairman of the 326-member committee.
Meanwhile, the House candidates, who came together as a group, boasted, “At least we will deliver 50 votes in the 176974 polling units across the federation to our presidential candidate.”
The candidates appealed to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike to sheathe his sword and join hands with the party to support Atiku and the party to victory.
Explaining the reasons for the decision to back Atiku, leader of the group, Danjuma Mohammed, said at a press conference, “It is in consideration of the hopes and aspirations of our people that we decided to come together to form a formidable team, using our various support groups and recent political relevance in our respective constituencies across the country to queue behind our party and its presidential flag bearers, their Excellences, Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa, to ensure their success in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
“Without stating the obvious, Nigeria is in its most difficult moment in history. The economy has gone down its lowest ebb, so also has the security of lives and properties. Citizens are stressed and depressed, thus, have lost hope and faith in government.
“In all assessments, the very basis for the existence of government could be said to be totally absent in Nigeria, as reflected by the ever rising security challenges across all geopolitical zones, eroding existing government institutions, inefficiencies and demoralised workforce due to corruption, nepotism, brazen abuse of established processes, norms and values.
“Never in the history of our dear country have Nigerians been this challenged in all aspects of our lives, becoming refugees in our country, farmers cannot farm or engage in any meaningful economic activities, because of insecurity, people are abducted on daily basis not only in villages and forests, but on major roads and houses, places of worships within towns and cities – nobody and nowhere is safe.
“We are losing investors every day, millions of Nigerians are pushed into poverty on daily basis, yet, the government keeps plunging the country deeper into local and international debt. The social fabric of the society has been destroyed. Ethnic and religious profiling has become the order of the day. The country is in fear of itself.”
The group called on Wike to end all confrontations with the party, saying a house divided against itself cannot stand.
It stated, “Thus, we appeal to HE, Nyesom Wike, to accept the recent resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party reaffirming confidence in the national chairman of the party in good faith, no matter how he and his supporters may view the resolution to be at variance with their desires and aspirations. Democracy demands that we tolerate developments that may be personally disagreeable to us but popular with the majority.”
Similarly, national publicity secretary of the group, Jubril Sabo Keana, said, “With our numbers, we pledge at least 50 votes in all the 176974 polling units across the federation and this will give Atiku and Okowa between three and five million votes and this will go a long way to ensure victory.”
In a related development, PDP publicity secretaries in the South-west opposed the calls for the resignation of the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Spokespersons of the PDP in Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti and Lagos, after a meeting in Lagos, Saturday, said there was no “justification” for the calls for Ayu to step down from his position.
The spokespersons were Hakeem Amode (Lagos), Asiwaju Akinloye (Ogun), Kennedy Peretei (Ondo), and Raphael Adeyanju (Ekiti).
In a statement issued after their meeting, the PDP South-west publicity secretaries said there was no prior meeting where stakeholders in the geopolitical zone agreed that Ayu should vacate office.
They said in the statement, “We do not see any justification for the resignation of our National Chairman, especially at this very critical stage of preparation for elections. Dr Iyorchia Ayu was duly elected at a properly constituted National Convention with a four-year mandate and recently received a vote of confidence of the party’s National Executive Committee, at its 97th meeting in Abuja.
“Our party has championed the sanctity of the PDP Constitution (2017 as amended). We must, therefore, do everything to maintain this sanctity. Any action that undermines the spirit of the party’s constitution at this crucial stage can only be considered a deliberate attempt to sabotage the party’s efforts at winning in the coming general election.
“We appeal to the leadership of our party in the South-west region to work together to respect the constitution of our party, because if we cannot respect our own rules, guidelines, and constitution as a party, how will Nigerians trust us to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when voted into the office. The concern of our zonal leaders and their determination to protect the interest of our members against any form of marginalisation is deeply appreciated.
“However, our focus should be directed mainly to encouraging our teeming members to rally around our candidates vying for the Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship positions and ensure that they win elections.”