As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign trail moved to Benin City, Edo State on Saturday, its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has told supporters that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has destroyed Nigeria and every opportunity therein during its years in power.
He has, therefore, counselled citizens that the party that came to power nearly seven and half years ago is not a party to be supported.
Addressing the rally at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, the former Vice President said: “You have seen how APC has destroyed this country, destroyed the economy of this country. They have destroyed your educational opportunities. They have destroyed your job opportunities. APC is not a party to the supported.
“Therefore, we call on you to continue to be loyal to PDP and PDP will be loyal to you.”
The PDP flag bearer thanked the people of the state for sticking with the main opposition party, promising that the party will repay their loyalty.
Atiku said if elected, the PDP will restore security in the country, bring back moribund industries in the state and provide it with infrastructure.
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He added: “I want to thank Edo people for sticking together with PDP. Now, today we are before you to reiterate our commitment, our five-program commitment to the people of this country.
“One, we have promised to reunify this country what do we mean by that? We mean we are going to give each and every part of this country a sense of belonging. You will not be excluded in anything. That is why we are being referred to as unifiers of our great nation.
“Two, we promise to restore security. Whatever it is going to take us to do it, we are going to restore security in this country so that you can travel day and night, so that you can go to your farms, so that you can go to anywhere secured.
“We will put more policemen on the streets. We will equip them; we will fortify them, and since we have promised to devolve more powers to the states and local governments, you can also have your own local police. We shall make sure your local police don’t harass you.
“Three, we will send back all our eligible children to school. They must go to school; every child must go to school. If you remember, during the PDP years, we established compulsory primary school education from primary to secondary school and we are tasking Nigerians to educate these children.
“But this government is not keeping to that promise. We promise you; every child must go to school and our universities will not go on strike, we promise you that one by the grace of God.
“Again, we promise to revive the economy of this country. We will make sure that our industries, our factories, resume production in this country. We will make sure that there are enough jobs for our youths who are passing out from the schools.
“This is what we mean by reviving the economy. We will work together with the private sector to make sure that industries, factories particularly here in Edo resume operations so that there will be enough jobs for you.
“Again, we promise infrastructural development in the country, particularly in Edo, linking Edo to the South and linking Edo to the North. We will make sure all these roads are rehabilitated and they are motorable.
“What is most important in a large country like Nigeria is to make sure that we have an efficient rail system.
“We will and we shall together with the private sector, make sure that we have rails established across this country so that you can move freely, as well as also your goods and services across the country.
“Now Edo people you are known to be a PDP state. Continue to stick with PDP. PDP will be loyal to you, PDP will pay you back.”
In his remark, the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, accused the APC of visiting hunger, poverty, unhappiness and death on Nigerians.
He said the PDP is better for the Niger Delta because the party understands the region, which led it to establish the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Okowa stated: “The PDP has made a great choice for the Niger Delta, and why is that choice great for the Niger Delta and the people of Edo state, and the South South? Because Atiku Abubakar understand the problem of the Niger Delta, he knows all the states of the Niger Delta.
“It was during his time with OBJ that they started the NDDC and the NDDC was doing well, but in the last seven years, we have not seen the hand of the NDDC in our states because the APC government did not know the purpose for which NDDC was established.
“A lot of institutions have been established that have not been put into effective use, because they did not know how it came about.
“The PDP government knows how to run the economy that it would be good for our youths, women and all Nigerians. But unfortunately since the APC came it has been hunger, poverty, our people are dying, unhappy.
“We have brought a man who we know will be able to restore our economy, make sure there are more jobs and the youths will get employment. He understands that the state needs more money, more power, and he has promised us that he is going to give more powers, more resources to the state, to the local government.
“That is what we need to develop our state, he is the only presidential candidate who is ready to do it and has been talking about it, the South South and the Niger Delta believes in him and I want to plead that our youths here should start convincing all others that the new Nigeria that will create hope is why Atiku Abubakar becomes the president.
“To God be the glory he has taken one of us a son of the South South myself as the running mate, I want to reassure you that I am partially from Edo state because my Grandmother is from here, and together we will deliver the votes that will make Atiku in 2023.”
The chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, in his address, said Atiku will restore Nigeria to its pride of place.
He said if elected, the PDP flag bearer will make it possible for people to move around again with let or hindrance.
According to him, “By the time you vote Alhaji Atiku Abubakar I can assure you that all the troubles that you are seeing will be gone. When PDP was in government, couldn’t you travel easily? We are coming to rescue and to restore our situation to our pride of place in Africa.
“Today we have only one message for the youth, message of a social contract in PDP, that this government that will do real democracy, government of the people by the people for the people. That is your social contract.
“I can assure you that this is one government that knows the problem and has the solution. You are voting for progress, employment, security, economic renaissance.
“So, Edo is the heart beat of Nigeria, the large heart, this is where economy booms. All those places we used to see when I went out, are not there again. So, PDP must come back.”
Also speaking, PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, described the presidential candidate of the PDP and his running mate as capable people.
He told the party supporters: “We know what is your problem in this country. Your problem in bad governance by that party. There is hunger in the land, you don’t need to tell anybody. There is insecurity in the land. You can’t sleep in your house, everything about Nigeria is going down. There is disunity everywhere because of bad policies.”