New Telegraph

February 25, 2024

2023: Wike, 4 PDP govs absent as Atiku flags off campaign

…pledges to restore Nigeria’s unity, address insecurity, other challenges

…calls on PDP members to unite to win poll

The pomp and ceremony that usually characterise the inauguration of presidentialcampaigncouncilwas almost lost yesterday when the presidential candidate of thePeoplesDemocraticParty (PDP) for 2023, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, flagged off his campaign with the absence of five of the party’s governors. Also absent was the Na-tionalChairman, DrIyorchia Ayu, who was on a two-week holiday.

He was, however, represented by the Deputy National Chairman (North) Umar Damagun. The governors absent at theeventwereNyesomWike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia). MakindeisDeputyChairman( South) of thePDPPresidential Campaign Council, which is headedbyGovernor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State. Wike and some party members have been calling for the resignation of Ayu as National Chairman, and said they would not participate in Atiku’s campaign if he remains in office.

Despitehisabsence, prominent politicians from Rivers State, including former National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, attended the inauguration. Former governor, Celestine Omehia, and former Deputy Speaker of theHouse of Representatives, Austin Opara, were otherpoliticians fromRiversStateattheevent. Theeventpreceded therelaunch of four books written in favour of the PDP presidential candidate. Atiku, whoaddressedparty members, said PDP must unite for the purpose of winning next year’s presidential election. “Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that faceus aheadas a nation, andthisincludeseverymember 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,” Atiku said.

The former vice president, who decried the state of affairs in the countrysince 2015 where the All ProgressivesCongress( APC) administration took over the reins of power, noted that such type of government is no longer suited to the challenges of a 21st century economy that is needed to bring development closer to the people. He stated that his plans to rescue Nigeria are enunciated in a document he entitled My Covenant With Nigerians, “to restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, social justice, mutualcollaboration, and consensus, among our diverse peoples.” Atiku also promised “to build a strong and effective democratic government where the safety and security of our people and their property is our primary and singularly most important responsibility.” Udom who is chairman of the campaign council dismissed the insinuation that PDP is in crisis: “Don’t mind the nay Sayers.

“We want to assure you that we are campaigning to win. Nothing is acceptable to PDP. But this willalsorequirethatallof us unite. We can move forward inthespiritof oneness, unity and progress.” The Director-General of the Campaign Management Committee, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said PDPand its presidential candidateisaparty tobeatin the election, appealing to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a free and fair election in 2023. Meanwhile, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), Chief Chinemerem Madu, alleged of plans to derail Atiku campaign. He alleged that the sum of N28 million had been earmarked by an unnamed national vice chairmanfrom southernpartof thecountry to bribe NEC members.

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