It’s Time for Change, Atiku Declares, Says APC a Disappointment
*A battle line has been drawn, Wike tells Ayu
*Cautions presidential campaign council against accessing rally venue
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday advised Nigerians to cause another change in leadership, describing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a disappointment.
But following the dissolution of the executive committee of the PDP in Ekiti State, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State yesterday declared that a battle-line has been between the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and the G-5 governors.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Minna, Niger State, Atiku reminded the people that their desire for change led them to vote for APC in previous elections.
He, however, noted that since they did not get what they expected from the ruling party, the February 25 election would present a good opportunity to replace the government.
He promised that his administration will restore security to the beleaguered state.
The former vice president also said his administration would revisit the Baro Port, which was initiated under the previous PDP-led government.
“We want to appreciate the people of Niger State for their support since we came to the state. May God bless you all. We pray that God brings peace to the state.
“You know that only PDP can bring peace to Niger. When PDP was in power from 1999 to 2015 was there insecurity in Niger? We want to assure you that if you return to PDP, we will eliminate insecurity in Niger.
“We also assure you that the Baro Port that the PDP first constructed before you demanded for change, now have you seen the change? What did the change bring? It brought insecurity, hardship, and economic meltdown.
“We appeal to you to return PDP for improved security, development, and other things in Niger and the country at large.
“You voted for APC; have you not seen the difference? Now is the time for another change,” Atiku added.
Also in his remarks, PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, noted that under the APC, Niger State has become the headquarters of insecurity in Nigeria with as many as 10 local governments under insurgents’ control at one time.
He noted that Niger State is home to the most mineral resources in the country but is still the epicentre of poverty.
While imploring the people to vote for Atiku, he said a PDP government will return the state to the path of progress.
Ayu welcomed back a former deputy governor of the state, Ambassador Ahmed Musa Ibeto, and other decampees to the main opposition party
Also speaking, the PDP vice presidential candidate and governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, told the crowd that the almost eight years of APC in government have been damaging to the country.
Okowa averred: “In the last eight years, the APC government has done great damage to Nigeria. They brought poverty to us, they brought insecurity to us, and they have divided Nigeria and that is not what we want as a people.
“PDP has brought a father, a man who is humble, a man who is ready to care for you, a man who is ready to love all Nigerians, a man who does not care whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, he is ready to attend to your needs and that is Atiku Abubakar”.
A Battle Line Has Been Drawn, Wike Tells Ayu
Meanwhile, Wike has stated that the dissolution of the PDP executive in Ekiti State by the Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) would be challenged in court.
Wike, who dared the PDP and Ayu to suspend him or any of the G-5 governors, warned that the resort to despotism by the NWC would not do the PDP any good in the forthcoming general election.
The Rivers State governor stated this yesterday, while speaking at the state PDP campaign flag-off rally in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state.
He explained that the reason why the dissolution of the Ekiti State working committee will be challenged in court is because there are still members of the PDP who believe in the rule of law and that the need for the party to respect its constitution.
“Let me also use this opportunity to say to Iyorchia Ayu and his team, your dissolving Ekiti State Exco will not help you in anyway. Your suspending people will not help you in anyway. The battleline has been fully drawn. As I speak to you, we will do everything legally possible to challenge any decision we know is illegal.
He stressed that the Ayu-led NWC resort to tyranny would do more damage to the PDP as far as the 2023 general election is concerned.
Wike Cautions Atiku’s Campaign Council against Accessing Rally Venue
In another development, Wike has threatened to cancel the approval given to the PDP presidential campaign to use Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium if the venue is accessed before the approved hour.
The governor said the stadium can only be accessed two days before the rally, adding that members of the campaign did not have the right over when to use the venue.
This development comes amid a crisis in the PDP over the position taken by stakeholders, including the five governors led by Wike
Speaking at the weekend at a campaign rally in Oyigbo LGA, Wike specifically warned the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Organisation in the state, Abiye Sekibo, not to force his way into the stadium days before the rally.
“Let me also use this opportunity to warn Abiye Sekibo, we have made approval for your presidential candidate to use Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, on February 11. You have no right to begin to go to the stadium now. We cannot give you access to the stadium now. We can only give you access to the stadium two days before the occasion for you to prepare,” he said.
“Nobody gave you one month. So, if you dare it again, to go and force yourself into the stadium, I will cancel the approval with immediate effect. Dare it again, I will cancel it. Heaven will not fall. If heaven falls now, we will be happy that it was in our time heaven came down,” Wike threatened.