ANDREW OJIH And BEATRICE GONDYI capture the presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba and Bauchi States.
The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his campaign team were in Taraba and Bauchi States on February 6, 2019 to canvass for the support and votes ahead of Presidential election in Nigeria.
Taraba and Bauchi States are presently governed by the two major parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP respectively. Taraba has remained a strong hold of the PDP since 1999 as it has consistently been under the control of the party.
Bauchi, on the other hand has been governed over the years by different political parties. Much more, Bauchi has remained politically favorable to President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of votes, making the state one of his major strongholds.
However Atiku’s visit to Taraba State was without the expected fanfare. Thousands of PDP supporters turned out to welcome the candidate to Taraba.
Speaking at the PDP Presidential campaign rally in Jalingo, the Taraba State Capital, he claimed that the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to fulfill all the promises he made to Nigerians in 2015.
He said President Buhari and his team are incompetent in handling Nigerian situations, adding that the task of making the nation work again, is a collective effort of all and asked Nigerians to vote out the current administration in 2019.
He explained that if given the privilege, he would turn around the fortune of the country for better.
He decried the worsening security situation in the Country, adding that in 2015, the security situation of the country was a bit mild as compared to what it is today.
He said the large crowd of supports he had so far received from Nigerians indicate that his victory is sure.
According to him, one important task before him if voted into power in 2019 would be to over restructure the security architecture of Nigeria.
“As I speak with you, Nigeria’s economy is in a bad shape and we must work collectively to bring it to life.
“Youths unemployment is another serious issue facing the country, I have pledged to create jobs for the teeming youths and improve on power supply” he said.
He advised the huge crowd not to vote wrongly; else they will mortgage the future of their children and grandchildren.
He further promised that he will complete the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Dam in Taraba if elected.
He explained that the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari promised to construct the dam but failed to keep the promise.
“If elected president of Nigeria on February 16, I will complete the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Dam within my tenure in office to solve the problem of electricity in the state and the country.
“I will also construct federal government roads in the state as well as refund the money Taraba spent in constructing federal government roads in the state,” he promised.
He urged the people of the state to re-elect Gov Darius Ishaku to enable him continue with “Good governance”.
The PDP national Chairman, Chief Uche Secondous, tasked the people of the state to vote Atiku for job creation, peace and prosperity of the country.
Secondous urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide a level playing field for all so that the outcome of the polls would be accepted by all.
Gov Ishaku of Taraba assured the presidential candidate of unalloyed support by the people of the state to ensure his victory at the polls.
He noted that Atiku’s candidacy was a sign of unity and progress of the country and should be supported for a better Nigeria.
How far this campaign can go in Taraba State is another matter. In recent times there has been defections from the PDP to the APC in the state. The All Progressives Party (APC) governorship candidate in Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar, had last year received more than 5 , 000 members of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and other political parties in the state , who defected to the APC .
The defectors, including local government and ward officials , had earlier left the APC and followed the former Minister of Women Affairs , Senator Aisha Alhassan, to the UDP.
Still, the true test for Atiku and the PDP will be in Bauchi State, where he has an enormous task of trying to surmount the Buhari’s followership.
Although he was able to amass a crowd at his rally, many analysts still express doubt about his ability to match or surpass the feat of Buhari in the state over the years. But others believe because of the fact that he is the first person from the North-east seeking to occupy the top seat after many years.
Late Prime minister Tafawa Balewa was the last person from the North-east to attain such a top national office in the land.
At the gathering however, Atiku took shots at the ruling party, saying their achievements in the past 3 years, just as the oil drilling in Bauchi, is the brainchild of PDP.
Atiku said “Three years has passed, what has APC done for you; except hunger, poverty and lies? When I was Vice president in 2003, a memo was brought to me by Hon. Shira for the restoration of Steyr company and I approved five hundred million naira (500,000,000) . But APC has driven the company into comatose. If you vote me, I will bring back your Steyr company to create jobs for our teeming youths.
“We even commissioned rail lines running from Bauchi across Gombe to Maiduguri but APC has spoilt it. Also, we commissioned dry port to boost businesses in Bauchi, but it is closed today because of the nonchalance of the APC. But I will revive it if you vote for me” Atiku said.
Speaking earlier, Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said Atiku will salvage Nigeria from near collapse that the APC has brought it to.
He said governance left Bauchi since the exit of former governor, Adamu Muazu, while assuring that if the PDP is brought back to government, the party will restore the lost glory of the state.
The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, described President Buhari as a weakling and thus will not be able to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
He said that Atiku Abubabakar, if voted as President, will run a transparent and open government.
Secondus who said this on Tuesday at the Atiku Presidential Campaign Team held at the Abubabakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi explained that: “Nobody can deceive us. Buhari is weak, he cannot go further. He must surrender because he cannot deliver, he cannot interact.
“Atiku will not give his power to anybody. He will not give his power to the cabal. Buhari has given his power to the cabal but Atiku will not do that.”
The National Chairman added that Atiku will restore the lost glory of the country if voted into office.
He called on the electorates to cast their votes and wait for the votes to be counted and recorded.
According to him Nigerians are hungry and “I want to urge you to vote for Atiku because a vote for him is a vote for employment. Vote for security, vote for food.”
He said that the ‘mammoth’ crowd at the venue of the campaign is an indication that the PDP had returned to Bauchi.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara stated that the PDP is not advertising its Candidate (Atiku) just because he’s from the north east but also because of the potentials he has.
“Wherever we have gone to, the people have responded showing that the PDP has gained acceptance. We are not just advertising him because he is from the north east but because he’ll work. He will chase away hunger from Nigeria, give our children education and get employment for our children,” he said.
He added that the Bauchi State Government does not like the people and has not done anything for them.
According to him, “since Muazu left government, government left Bauchi State. If Nigeria is said to be the headquarters of hunger and poverty, then the north east is also the headquarters in Nigeria.”
Dogara called on the people to cast their votes for Atiku because he has the experience and the capacity to deliver the People of the north east from the ‘diseases’ plaguing them.
In an address, the Gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in Bauchi State, Sen. Bala Mohammed, lamented the state of governance in the state.
He said that the state government under the leadership of Governor Mohammed Abubabakar has failed the people by not delivering on its campaign promises.