The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday said his party has a plan to tackle the challenges bedevilling the country, urging all to join hands with him to rescue Nigeria.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Presidential Campaign Council and launching of three books in Abuja, the former vice president said the country is in disarray and is being torn apart by “mutual distrust, ethnic and sectarian strife and we are now more disunited than we have ever been in our history, including even when we fought a civil war.”
According to him, “But all hope is not lost. We have a plan to address these issues and to arrest the drift of our nation. These plans have been laid out in the document titled “My Covenant With Nigerians”.
Atiku however explained that to rescue and rebuild Nigeria, “We must first take over the mantle of leadership from the party that drove us into this mess. To do this, we must all be united in purpose and come together to fight and win all the elections slated for next year.
“Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP. And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rescue, rebuild and reposition our beloved country, Nigeria.
“The tasks ahead may appear daunting; they may seem a load too heavy to bear. But, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of generations yet unborn, we must not, even for one minute, shirk in the responsibilities that we have been entrusted with to come together to rebuild this beloved country of ours.”
Chairman of the Campaign Council and Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel assured that as a campaign council they have the seriousness and unity that is required.
“It’s our duty to campaign, to carry and publicise the message on how to rescue and restore the hope of Nigerians and it is for Nigerians to vote and for the Almighty to give victory,” he said.
Apparently referring to the crisis in the party, Udom urged the members of the PDP not to mind the doomsayers.
“I want to assure you that PDP is a solid rock and we know that no matter the wind, it will not move the rock. So, irrespective of the wind that you see around the rock, it will not move the rock. The rock remains as solid as ever.
“This time, there is no sitting in Abuja, everybody will have to work hard and carry the message home. PDP is not an Abuja party; you win from your unit, your ward and not by sitting in Abuja. The campaign council will take the message to the unit,” he said.
On his part, the Director General of the campaign council, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, said the PDP and Atiku is the party to beat in this election.
“It is only for us to work and with God on our side, we shall deliver this victory to our party and to Nigerians. We have the support of Nigerians and we appeal that INEC will conduct a free and fair election, and victory by the grace of God will be guaranteed for PDP,” he said.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and members of his camp in the party were conspicuously absent during the inauguration.
It was also observed that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was listed on the programme of events as the Distinguished Guest of Honour was absent.
Four other governors; Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) were absent.
Governors who graced the event included Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), and Ahmadu Fintri (Adamawa).
Three former Senate presidents; Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Anyim Pius Anyim and David Mark were in attendance as well as a former Speaker House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’abba.
The National Chairman of the party, Amb. Umar Damagun inaugurated the 600-member campaign council on behalf of the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.