Nige­ria was more pros­per­ous un­der PDP, says Atiku

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Ka­marudeen Ogun­dele and Ade­mola Ba­balola

THE pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party, Al­haji Atiku Abubakar, on Thurs­day com­pared the PDP gov­ern­ments with the present All Pro­gres­sives Congress ad­min­is­tra­tion, say­ing Nige­ri­ans had the long­est and con­sis­tent record of pros­per­ity and peace un­der the PDP ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Atiku, who made the as­ser­tion at the Mapo hall, Ibadan at the South-west pres­i­den­tial rally of the PDP, also promised to be­gin the restruc­tur­ing of the coun­try within six months of as­sump­tion of of­fice.

Buhari plunged Nige­ria into huge debts

He also be­rated the APC gov­ern­ment for al­legedly plung­ing the coun­try into huge debts, say­ing Nige­ri­ans must vote Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari out of of­fice in 2019.

Atiku, who was ac­com­pa­nied to the rally by his run­ning mate, Peter Obi; the party’s Na­tional Chair­man, Prince Uche Se­con­dus; the Direc­torGen­eral of his cam­paign, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; for­mer gov­er­nors of Ek­iti and Osun, Ayo Fayose and Prince Ola­gun­soye Oyin­lola re­spec­tively, lamented the wide­spread hunger, poverty and in­se­cu­rity in the land.

He as­sured Nige­ri­ans that he would assem­ble the best eco­nomic team to re­turn pros­per­ity to Nige­ria.

The pres­i­den­tial can­di­date urged Nige­ri­ans not to be­lieve the al­leged lies of the APC and to use their per­ma­nent voter cards to send the rul­ing party away.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Nige­ri­ans must re­frain from sell­ing their votes to the APC for them to wit­ness a re­birth of new Nige­ria with food in abun­dance, qual­ity life, se­cu­rity of lives and prop­erty and eco­nomic well-be­ing for all.

He stated, “In the next two months, you will be re­quired to make his­tory in this coun­try. Since the re­turn of democ­racy in 1999, the best pros­per­ity we have en­joyed in this coun­try was un­der the PDP. The best peace we have en­joyed in this coun­try was un­der the PDP, the best ed­u­ca­tional ad­vance­ment all parts of this coun­try en­joyed was un­der the PDP.

“Then in 2015, some liars de­ceived you peo­ple, they came to de­ceive us and we be­lieved in them, we gave them the op­por­tu­nity. They said they were go­ing to cre­ate jobs; in­stead of cre­at­ing jobs, we have lost about 12 mil­lion jobs since they came to power.

“They said they were go­ing to en­hance pros­per­ity; since they came, we have got poorer to the ex­tent that to­day we have sur­passed any coun­try in the world in terms of poverty. We are the head­quar­ters of poverty in the world. Is that the kind of gov­ern­ment you want to con­tinue with?”

He added, “My broth­ers and sis­ters, I stand be­fore you to­day to prom­ise you that we shall re­turn your pros­per­ity and the pros­per­ity of this coun­try. If you give me the op­por­tu­nity again, I will assem­ble the best team so that we can re­turn pros­per­ity to our coun­try.”

The for­mer vice-pres­i­dent said the South-west was known for its ed­u­ca­tional strides even be­fore in­de­pen­dence, and promised to con­tinue to in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion to make sure the zone ex­cels.

He stated, “We shall re­turn your pros­per­ity and the pros­per­ity of this coun­try. I chaired the best econ­omy team dur­ing my eight years as vice-pres­i­dent. I prom­ise you to assem­ble the best econ­omy team. South-west is known for ed­u­ca­tion. I prom­ise to in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion of the South-west to make the zone ex­cel.

“I am a strong ad­vo­cate of restruc­tur­ing. I prom­ise to com­mence the process of restruc­tur­ing within six months if I am elected Pres­i­dent in 2019. Stop lis­ten­ing to the lies of the APC. Work hard to re­turn pros­per­ity. Do not sell your PVC. Do not sell your votes. Buhari must go, Buhari must go, Buhari must go.”

Saraki, in his ad­dress, stated that Nige­ri­ans could only end the suf­fer­ing in the coun­try by vot­ing out the APC

He stated, “The suf­fer­ing is too much. The only way we can stop this suf­fer­ing is to come out on the Elec­tion Day to vote for Atiku.”

Fayose urged Nige­ri­ans to pro­tect their votes dur­ing the elec­tions in 2019.

He said, “The only prod­uct we are sell­ing is Atiku; PDP and Atiku. That is the prod­uct; the prod­uct that will come for­ward and par­tic­i­pate in the de­bate be­cause I can tell you au­thor­i­ta­tively that Buhari will not come.

“There­fore, we must stand to­gether be­cause this elec­tion is won al­ready. We are only to pro­tect our votes and stand up for the PDP. It will hap­pen and the PDP will be an­nounced again.”

Fayose claimed that the PDP and Atiku had al­ready won the elec­tion, telling Nige­ri­ans that Buhari would boy­cott de­bates be­cause of the fear of Atiku.

Daniel noted that the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion would be a fam­ily ex­er­cise be­cause Atiku’s first wife was from the South-west and that the can­di­date started his ca­reer and lived in Ibadan as a young man.

Se­con­dus urged the South-west peo­ple to vote for Atiku, as­sur­ing them that the PDP would re­turn the glory of Nige­ria where liv­ing would be bet­ter as the can­di­date had the blue­print to res­cue Nige­ria from its mul­ti­fac­eted prob­lems.

The gov­er­nor­ship can­di­dates of the party that at­tended the rally were Mr Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Mr Jimmy Ag­baje (La­gos); and the duo of Oladipupo Ade­butu and Bu­ruji Kashamu, who were fight­ing over the Ogun State PDP gov­er­nor­ship ticket.

Other dig­ni­taries at the rally were Ms Jumoke Ak­in­jide, Sen­a­tors Ben Murray Bruce, Dino Me­laye, Hosea Ag­boola, Ade­mola Adeleke; Dr Doyin Okupe, Mr Se­gun Sowunmi, Al­haja Bose Aded­ibu, Al­haji Ta­judeen Oladipupo, Rev­erend Bunmi Jenyo, Al­haji Shuaib Oye­dokun, Al­haji Hazeem Gbo­larumi, and Mr Femi Jo­gor.

Atiku is a dam­aged prod­uct – APC

When con­tacted, the APC Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Mal­lam Lanre Issa-onilu, said the PDP was a dis­cred­ited party and had no in­tegrity to crit­i­cise the APC’S ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He said, “The PDP is a dis­cred­ited party and their can­di­date is a dam­aged prod­uct. They are a bad com­bi­na­tion for this coun­try. They think Nige­ri­ans have short mem­ory but they will be shocked at the elec­tions in Fe­bru­ary.

“We have im­proved power sup­ply and fight­ing cor­rup­tion to boost the con­fi­dence of in­vestors.

“We have in­creased ac­cess to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and re­duced the num­ber of out-of-school chil­dren. We have also com­menced school feed­ing pro­gramme to pro­vide nu­tri­tious meal to pupils to boost their con­cen­tra­tion in classes. The same money PDP mem­bers were us­ing to buy pri­vate jets.”

He added, “We are not go­ing to take up is­sue with them but to show­case what we have done in our three and half years of ste­ward­ship.

“Ev­ery kilo­me­tre of road we have done is a re­minder to Nige­ri­ans of the 16 years of waste by the PDP. Ev­ery rail track we have laid is a re­minder to Nige­ri­ans how waste­ful the 16 years of PDP was.”

•Atiku

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