Atiku Bonding with People to Keep Hope Alive
Chuks Okocha reports that the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has launched his manifesto aimed at keeping Nigerian people’s hope alive
September 28, 2022 was a long awaited date by the 18 political parties that would be participating in the next year general election. It was the date slated for the commencement of the presidential campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, kept a date with it because his campaign kicked off with the launch of his memoirs packaged in three different books.
Last Wednesday was full of grandeur as dancers, as well wishers and supporters of the PDP presidential flag bearer thronged the International Conference Centre, Abuja, to herald the official kick off of the campaign.
Nigerians, either resident or working around the venue, which is in the heart of the nation’s capital might not have bargained with the type of traffic on their roads leading to ICC.
The various security agencies led by the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, had an hectic time controlling traffic, as well as preventing the street urchins from gaining access to the venue.
However, despite the pomp and pageantry that heralded the occasion. It was nearly marred by the absence of some key participants including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, his Oyo state counterpart, Seyi Makinde; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George. They are members of the Wike group.
Their absence notwithstanding, Atiku used the occasion to drive home his campaign manifesto and how he intended to move Nigeria and Nigerians forward, starting from the led to the leaders.
Atiku in his inaugural speech on the occasion, urged Nigerians to keep hope alive.
He said, “We have a duty to arrest the drift. What is our task that we are gathered here today to undertake? It is beyond merely coming together to inaugurate a Presidential Campaign Council. No!
“Our task today is to come together to rescue and rebuild our beloved country, Nigeria. That is the end goal. It is existential to us as a nation, and it is a task that history beckons upon us all to grasp with both hands and undertake with vigour and zeal.
“To rescue and rebuild our country, we must first takeover the mantle of leadership from the party that has driven us into this mess. To do this, we must all be united in purpose and come together to fight and win all the elections slated for next year.
“Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP.
“It is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rescue, rebuild and reposition our beloved country, Nigeria.”
Atiku pleaded with the party leaders and the Presidential Campaign Council, to see the presidential election as a major task that is achievable despite the daunting challenges.
According to him: “The tasks ahead may appear daunting; they may seem a load too heavy to bear. However, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of generations yet unborn, we must not, even for one minute, shirk in the responsibilities that we have been entrusted with to come together to rebuild this beloved country of ours.
“I wish to congratulate all the men and women nominated to serve in the Presidential Campaign Council. You have been selected from among the millions of our party members to join this esteemed council because of your past contributions to the party.
“Naturally, not all members of our party can be in the Presidential Campaign Council. Every single member of the PDP is an important member of the party and each one of you is still entrusted with the responsibility of leading our party to victory in next year’s elections.’
Atiku also took a step further to reposition his campaigns as he announced the decentralisation of the campaign structures as well as appointing zonal heads of his campaign organisation.
In announcing the decentralisation of the 600 membership of the campaign group, Atiku in a statement issued on his behalf by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature, said that the former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu, will head the Atiku Presidential Campaign Council for the North-East, while the former governor of Katsina State. Ibrahim Shema, will head the presidential campaigns in the North-West.
He equally announced a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeha Ihedioha as the head of the South-East presidential campaign council.
The wife of the former leader of the PDP, Josephine Anenih, was announced as the head of the campaigns for the South-South zone, while a former national secretary and a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was appointed as the head of the presidential campaigns for South West.
Also, Chief Chille igbawua from Kogi State was announced as the head of the party’s presidential campaigns for the North Central.
Speaking at the campaign flag off, Chairman of the PDP Presidential campaign council, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State charged members of the campaign organisation to ensure that the campaigns are issue based and focussed.
He said, “this campaigns which I am the Chairman by the Grace of God will be issue based and focussed.
“We are going into this campaign with what the PDP has done and what it intend to do. One thing is clear PDP will turn around the economy in no distant time when we come back as the ruling party.
“Our campaigns will be based on bottom to top, and not the top to bottom that has brought sorrow and crisis to the people. We intend to turn things around for the good of all Nigerians. “
On how the party intends to achieve success with the campaigns, Udom Emmanuel, said, “We have the people as our main resources , there is no part of Nigeria that you cannot find the PDP members.”
He described campaigns as mere jamboree, stating that “what ever happens is that the people will vote for the PDP and we defend our votes.”
The Chairman called on all members of the campaign to go back to their wards and polling units and campaign as elections are not won in Abuja.
“In charging you all to proceed to your wards and polling units. This is where elections are won,” he said.
Also speaking, Atiku’s running mate and governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, said there are lots of work to be done, explaining that this will eventually birth a new Nigeria where purposeful leadership would be guaranteed.
He boasted that with what he saw in Kano and Enugu a forthnight ago, the PDP would win convincingly in the South-East and North-West.
The PDP vice presidential candidate appealed to the various heads of the Campaign organisation to pay attention in the polling units and wards, as this is where elections are rigged.
He berated other political parties, especially the APC to emulate what the PDP and not sit and plan how to rig election.
According to him: “The PDP will emerge victorious as it did in Osun State, where no one gave us a chance. we will win convincingly in South-West. What we need is to be bold and courageous”
In their various speeches, the zonal campaign heads like Ibrahim Shema, Emeka Ihedioha, Ahmed Muazu, called for issue and focussed campaigns.
They also urged party members to proceed to their states and wards to deliver them for the PDP standard bearer.