Atiku hails Oyo residents that chanted his name at Makinde’s rally
By Charles Ajunwa in Lagos, Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council yesterday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would attend just 10 state rallies of the ruling party’s presidential standard bearer for the 2023 election, Bola Tinubu.
In a swift reaction, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the President’s decision to join Tinubu’s campaign in just 10 states is not surprising and a confirmation that Buhari had been foot-dragging in campaigning alongside Tinubu “who has brought them more grief than glory.”
On the same day, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, hailed Oyo residents who chanted his name at the campaign flag-off of Governor Seyi Makinde last Thursday in Ibadan, saying: “Oyo State, I heard you loud and clear yesterday. I take it warmly as a vote of confidence in me and our great party, PDP.”
The spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, in a statement yesterday listed the states where the president is expected to join the campaign train as Lagos, Adamawa, Cross River, Katsina, Imo, Yobe, Kwara, Sokoto, Ogun and Nasarawa.
He said: “The states are Adamawa State on the 9th of January; Yobe State on the 10th of January; Sokoto State on the 16th of January; Kwara State on the 17th of January; Ogun State on the 25th of January; Cross River State on the 30th of January; Nasarawa State on the 4th of February; Katsina State on the 6th of February; Imo State on the 14th of February and the grand finale in Lagos State on the 18th of February.
“The PCC expresses its profound gratitude to President Buhari, the leader of our great Party, for his sterling and inspirational leadership at this time and for galvanising our teeming members and supporters across the country.
“We urge our party faithful and supporters to turn out en masse, as usual, in the forthcoming campaign rallies. The zero hour is nigh; our spirits must be high; we must not relent in this collective march to our victory that is divinely ordained.”
Keyamo reiterated that the president was in attendance when Tinubu kicked off his campaign with a rally in Jos, Plateau State, in November 2022.
The president had recently said he was committed to the campaign of the APC standard bearer and all members of the party vying for elective positions.
But the opposition PDP said the President’s decision to join Tinubu’s campaign in just 10 states is a confirmation that Buhari had been foot-dragging in campaigning alongside Tinubu “who has brought them more grief than glory.”
The PDP in a statement by its Director of Media, Bashorun Dele Momodu added it was obvious that President Buhari and many senior APC chieftains are palpably embarrassed about the quality of their Presidential campaigns which has been extremely lackluster.
“Their candidate has failed miserably to even sell his own manifesto. It has been one gaffe after the other. To President Buhari’s credit, he was able to put up a robust defense when he was accused of some shortcomings in the past.
“In Tinubu’s case, his team has resorted only to bullying opposition and the media without offering responsible explanations to very serious accusations and allegations. The social media is awash with incredibly embarrassing jokes and comedy skits about a once ebullient and well-respected Southwest political icon.
“It is therefore not surprising that President Buhari has been foot-dragging in campaigning alongside a candidate who has brought them more grief than glory. Just imagine that the President uttered no word when he handed the party flag to Chief Bola Tinubu.
“That was the first disturbing sign that all is not well in the APC House of Commotion. Not even Asiwaju’s ally and former Attorney General of Lagos State, Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been seen standing next to him to defend his policies and personal character and attributes. Only a few rabble-rousers and political jobbers are left to goad him on. This is the most unusual Presidential campaign I have ever witnessed.”
Atiku Hails Oyo Residents Who Chanted His Name at Makinde’s Rally
Meanwhile, Atiku yesterday hailed Oyo residents who chanted his name at the campaign flag-off of Governor Makinde.
While speaking, Wike told the crowd at Mapo Hall that they should vote for PDP candidates at all levels.
“Vote for Seyi, vote for PDP senators, vote for the house of reps candidates, the other one (president), Seyi will come to you,” he said.
As he was emphasising that Makinde will tell them who to vote for as president, the Rivers Governor was disrupted by chants of “Atiku, Atiku”.
Reacting yesterday morning, Atiku said on twitter that he heard the Oyo State residents “loud and clear”, adding that he takes it as a “vote of confidence.”
Atiku said: “Oyo State, I heard you loud and clear yesterday. I take it warmly as a vote of confidence in me and our great party, PDP. You proved that my love for the Pace-Setter State over the years is not in vain.
“My promise to you is this: we shall work closely together in the mission to Recover Nigeria.”
Last Thursday, four governors of the PDP – Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ipeazu (Abia), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers) – were in Oyo to support Makinde.
Known as G5, the five PDP governors have been absent from the campaign rallies of Atiku and are demanding the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman of the party.
The demand for Ayu’s resignation is on the grounds that the party’s presidential candidate and national chairman cannot be from the same region.
The governors said they will reveal who they intend to support as president before the end of January.
PDP Salutes Oyo People
The PDP yesterday saluted the commitment and courage of the people of Oyo State for their support for Atiku and all other candidates of the party in the 2023 general elections.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the party commended the tenacity of its members and supporters in Oyo State “for expressing their support for Atiku at the flag-off of the PDP Governorship Campaign in Oyo State on Thursday, January 5, 2023, in defiance of attempts to dictate their electoral preference.”
Ologunagba said: “The overwhelming chanting of “Atiku! Atiku!” by the resilient crowd in rejection of a request that they follow the dictate of some individuals in the Presidential election summarily conveyed, in one voice, their non-negotiable resolve to vote Atiku as the next President of our country.”
He described the people of Oyo State as independent-minded and political savvy “who have again demonstrated their sobriquet as Pace-setter in the politics of Nigeria by establishing that power lies in the Will of the people and not the endorsement or dictate of any person or group of persons.”
Ologunagba said, “The expression of the people of Oyo State at the flag-off event firmly signposts and reaffirms the support of the South West Geo-Political Zone for Atiku and all our candidates in the South West and across the country.”
The PDP counseled “those seeking to dictate to Nigerians on their electoral preferences” to retrace their steps especially now that it is clear that the people are not ready to be swayed by personal, group or sectional consideration in their support for Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.
Ologunagba said, “Nigerians across board have found in Atiku Abubakar the desired integrity, cognate experience, capacity, ability, mental alertness, presence of mind, Pan-Nigeria deportment and required Will Power to unify and lead our nation at this critical time.
“Our Party therefore charges the people of Oyo State, the South-west Zone and all Nigerians to remain firm in their resolve by coming out en-masse to vote, as well as take every measure available in a democracy to protect their votes in the overall quest to rescue our nation from the maladministration of the APC and return her to the path of national stability, peace, economic prosperity and happiness of all that Atiku Abubakar embodies.”