Atiku, Okowa in Delta for Campaign, Thousands Trek Several Kilometers to Keshi Stadium

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Asaba, and indeed all of Delta State, was Tuesday practically shut down as the State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took its turn to host the party’s presidential standard-bearer, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and running mate and Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to the 2023 Presidential Campaign Rally.
The PDP candidate pledged to support Delta and other Niger-Delta states in every way because of the unflinching support he has received from the people of the area  have greatly helped his political career since 1999, assuring that a place contributing so much to the ecpnomy of the country should get commensurate development.
Atiku restated his determination to lead his party to rescue, reset and relaunch Nigeria on the path of economic development for a prided place in the comity of nations, stressing that his plans are encapsulated in a five-point agenda.
He listed the the areas of focus of the agenda to include education while lamenting the poor situation of the education sector in the country, saying his government would ensure that a no-strike regime was established in the nation’s University system bastardized by the All Progressives Congress -led Federal Government.
He said that a PDP government under him would work assiduously to forge a truly united country where every part of Nigeria had a sense of belonging irrespective of ethnic, cultural or religious leaning. 
“How do we restore the unity of Nigeria?” is a question often agitating his mind, he said, noting that a son of Delta State would be beside him to help fashion out a new Nigeria that is restructured for real progress as the vice-president.
Atiku, while promising to tackle the country’s economic challenges exacerbated by the dismal performance of the Buhari administration through a well-planned economic blueprint, urged the people of Delta to look nowhere else as the PDP in the state has made visible progress.
In his remarks, an excited Governor Okowa, who spoke in Pidgin English throughout, said that he was reassuring Nigerians that Atiku Abubakar has administrative capacity through experience and willingness to effectively undertake the onerous task of rescuing and rebuilding Nigeria.
The PDP vice-presidential candidate lamented the high levels of inflation in the country, wondering how the masses would survive with a bag of rice selling for almost N50,000.
He advised the people to support Atiku because he is experienced and knows the path to pegress for the country. “The man sabi; so, follow who sabi road well-well”, Okowa said.
While thanking the people for massively turning out for the campaign rally, Okowa restated that the APC government has failed Nigeria and urged the people to punish the party with their PVC at the polls. 
“I’m very happy today because Delta is solidly behind me. Please use your PVC on election day to sack the APC government at the centre,” Okowa said.
The PDP national chairman, Dr Ayu urged the people of the state to continue to stand solidly behind the PDP as they have done since the restoration of democracy in the the country 1999, saying Delta as a loving people have also had a succession of “performing governors” under the PDP since then.
Ayu revealed that the outstanding performance of the Okowa administration was a major criterion for his choice as the vice-presidential candidate of the party, saying it was common knowledge in Abuja and across the country that Okowa has had many core projects inaugurated under his government than any other state in the country.
The former Senate president expressed delight at what he called unprecedented turnout of Deltans for the campaign rally, urging them to translate the enthusiastic support into votes by using their PVCs on election day.
Ascending the podium, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan said that the PDP presidential candidate made a wise choice in Governor Okowa as his vice-presidential candidate, saying Delta remained Atiku’s second home because he has numerous friends in Delta State where massive votes could be assured.
“Thank you for picking Governor Okowa as your running mate, he is a very smart person; because of that, in Delta we are going to give you massive votes in the February 25, 2023 election”, Uduaghan said, adding that there were many federal projects in the state that need restoration and reconstruction.
National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, was joined by hundreds of party leaders, including the Chairman, Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, the Director-General, National Campaign Management Committee, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Delta PDP Governorship Candidate, Hon Sheriff Oborevwori as well as members of Delta State Aitku-Okowa campaign committee and support groups.
Notable political personages that witnessed the carnival-like event included the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Adolphosus Wabara, former vice-president Namadi Sambo, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, former Delta governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Delta State PDP Chairman, Kingsley Esiso and Senator Dino Melaye, who thrilled the audience with popular songs deriding the APC and glorifying the PDP.
Hours before commencement of the event at about 12.45pm, the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba was filled to capacity and overflowing with people, most of who traveled far and wide from across the 25 local government areas of the state, with hundreds of people having to trek several kilometers before they could access the Keshi Stadium.
Some defectors from other parties, including the state APC Secretary, Nick Ovuakpore, were presented to the national chairman by the Delta State PDP Chaidrman, Kingsley Esiso.

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