YOLA – Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stood before a cheering crowd in his home state of Adamawa on Saturday, announcing he will seek the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket for the February 2019 election.
Atiku had in a release from the media office on Friday promised that he would make the declaration in Yola, the capital of his home state of Adamawa on Saturday after several months of consultations with critical stakeholders in Nigeria and members of the party
Decrying the large-scale killings that have touched many parts of the country in recent months before thousands of supporters at the Yola town square, the heart of Nigeria’s north-east, Premium Times, an online newspaper reports that Abubakar took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, saying the APC government would be remembered more for its bloodshed than any development it brought to citizens.
“Today, we are witnessing the most insecure atmosphere,” Abubakar said of the killings largely blamed on herdsmen, bandits and militias, before promising to tackle them headlong if elected. “More people died under APC than people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Abubakar told a crowd chanting “Atiku! Atiku!” shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he would curtail inflation and unemployment rate in the country, saying Buhari and the ruling APC have displayed a common lack of capacity when it comes to the issues that matter matter most to the citizens.
“Today, we have the highest unemployment rate in history of this country, more than one million of our youth are unemployed,” Abubakar said, adding that the PDP would secure the country, ensure unity and security of life and property.
He also hit Buhari at one of his most vulnerable areas: “Today, we are more divided than at any other time in Nigeria’s history.”
Atiku said: “In 1998, I took Adamawa State to the PDP when I mounted the podium at the Mahmud Ribadu Square, and today, I’m mounting the podium to assure all Nigerians that I will take Adamawa State from APC to the PDP, because, the APC is full of dead woods who lack developmental strides.
“Adamawa must return to PDP, just like Nigeria too must return to the PDP in 2019.”
Atiku called on people of the state to return to PDP if they had not yet made up their minds, because, Adamawa must be rescued and taken to PDP.
He added: “I’m here to reclaim Adamawa State and the nation back to the PDP.”
Senator Ben Murray Bruce said he had a common sense to invite all Nigerians to join the PDP to stop the current bloodletting in Nigeria by the APC.
Sen. Grace Folashade Bent called on all Nigerians to rally round the PDP to halt the killings of innocent people across the country from the control of APC.
Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed, the representative of Nigerians living in the Diaspora, who came from the United States, said the Diaspora Nigerians were ready to remove the APC from Abuja, so that Nigerians would have a lease of life.
She said many of the Diasporas had been supporting Atiku to emerge as the nation’s President, adding that only the former Vice President was capable of defeating President Muhammadu Buhari.
Abubakar is only one of several top political players eyeing the PDP ticket, having other top contenders like Sule Lamido and Ahmed Makarfi.
Recently, political analysts expect the race to get even more fluid when the likes of Musa Kwankwaso, Aminu Tambuwal and other elements of the newPDP make their expected formal return to the largest opposition entity.
Abubakar’s stature as a former vice-president and serial presidential contender with vast political and financial muscle made him a top favourite for the ticket.
He has visited most of the southern states for consultations, and his office said he plans to take the tour to all the 36 states before the party’s primaries in a few months’ time.
He also sees himself in a good light, aiming directly at Buhari rather than his party ticket challengers.
At the well attended rally, thousands of All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters, including commissioners, state House of Assembly members, local government chairmen, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP National Chairman, while receiving the defectors, said the party was growing in the state and called on more people to join the train.
Members of the State Assembly, who defected to PDP included, Hon Teri Michika and members of his constituency; Hon Thomas of Leko/Koma and Hon Mrs. Justina Nkom, Lamurde, who came with thousands of people.
Secondus also announced that some cabinet members of the APC government in the state, including the Commissioner for Works and Housing, Hon Ibrahim Mijinyawa, and that of Commence, Alh. Umar Daware, had come into the PDP fold with thousands of their supporters.
The PDP national chairman said some local government chairmen in Adamawa State, led by Gideon Goroki, also joined the party along with their supporters.
Secondus pleaded with Nigerians to join hands to chase out corrupt and inept APC regime, which he said, had been characterised by bloodletting and hunger.
Hem said APC brought poverty in the land and that Nigerians were tired of mass killings across the country, stressing that APC had failed, even as he urged PDP lovers to increase their efforts in the march to take over the reins of governance.
The post 2019: Atiku Seeks PDP Presidential Ticket, Blasts Buhari appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.