As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flags off its presidential campaign, the standard bearer has reiterated commitments to salvage Nigerians from poverty, hunger, insecurity as well as restore the unity of the nation.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was addressing a mammoth crowd of party stakeholders and supporters at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium aka Nest of Champions in Uyo, at the flag-off of the Presidential Campaigns.
The presidential candidate, who described Nigeria under the leadership of PDP as the good days, assured Nigerians that a vote to return PDP into power will bring about economic boom, job creation and an end to insecurity.
“When PDP came into power in 1999, we met Nigeria in a state of poverty, insecurity, hunger and lack of education, we lifted Nigeria from the bottom to the top. We became the biggest economy in Africa. We had peace, we had progress.Then, Nigerians said they wanted change.
“They voted for change in 2015, what have we seen. What we have seen is poverty, insecurity, lack of jobs and disunity,”he stated.
The former Vice President, who acknowledged the developmental strides of Emmanuel in the state, expressed delight at the successful hosting of the flag-off of the presidential campaign, assured the teeming party faithful of a new lease of life when voted into power in next year’s general elections.
The chairman, Presidential Campaign Council and host of the presidential campaign flag off, Gov Udom Emmanuel, saidthe presidential campaign flag off, marked the beginning of hope, rescue mission and restoration in the country and urged Nigerians to vote PDP to liberate the nation from its present economic quagmire.
Emmanuel further assured Nigerians that PDP would address unemployment, education and insecurity which have brought setback in the country over the years.
“I want to remind you in case you have forgotten when PDP handed over power, the exchange rate was N186 to $1, now the exchange rate is almost N800 to a dollar.
“When PDP handed over power, Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa. So, today, we want to flag-off the hope for Nigerians, restoration and rescue mission for Nigerians.”
The director-general of the Presidential Campaign Council and Sokoto governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, described Atiku Abubakar as the most experienced candidate for the plum job, adding that the PDP presidential ticket has recognised the plurality and diversity of Nigeria and expressed confidence in the party to move the nation forward.
The vice presidential candidate and governor of Delta, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, said PDP has presented a chance to rescue Nigeria from its present economic woes being the only party that is prepared to fix the challenges of Nigeria over the years.
On behalf of other governors, the governor of Taraba, Darius Ishaku, assured Nigerians that once PDP comes into power the narrative would change, as insecurity, education and the economy will be addressed.
National chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, called on all members of the party to work in unity, pointing out that Nigerians were more concerned with the challenges affecting the nation and not a minor misunderstanding within the party which will be resolved.
Ayu presented the PDP flag to Atiku, the presidential candidate of PDP.
Atiku had earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Akwa Ibom traditional institution, at the Traditional Rulers Council Chamber, Uyo, where he assured of working with the traditional institution to restore peace and stability in Nigeria.
The former Vice President appreciated the warm reception accorded him by the traditional institution and spoke of his determination to collaborate with the traditional rulers to promote peace in the country.
“I feel exceedingly honoured for the opportunity to pay a courtesy visit to this revered traditional institution. I want to assure the traditional institution of our preparedness to work with you to ensure peace and stability in our country.”
The Akwa Ibom governor, Emmanuel, appreciated the guests who accompanied the presidential candidate to pay homage to the traditional fathers, and further thanked the president-general of the Traditional Rulers Council and Oku Ibom Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Etuk, for receiving the party’s candidate and his entourage.
Etuk advised the political class to remain focused in their campaign, emphasising that campaigns should be issue based, devoid of rancour.
The Oku Ibom Ibibio further appealed to the PDP presidential candidate to consider fixing roads and tackle insecurity, noting that the deplorable state of roads and insecurity across the country have been major setbacks in terms of economic development and called on the political class to be involved in community security.