The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has told the people of Abia State not to waste their votes on any candidate that cannot win the election, assuring that the main opposition party will emerge victorious in the coming polls.
Addressing a rally in Umuahia on Saturday, he warned voters against basing their choice of religious or tribal sentiments, recalling how PDP past governments administered the country without playing any of those cards.
He said that previous promises he made to Abia State remain valid, assuring that he will ensure the Aba Dry Port becomes operational if elected president.
The former vice president told the crowd: “Let me tell you, PDP is going to win. Therefore, it is better that you are on a winning ticket than on a ticket that cannot take you anywhere.
“I appeal to you not to be distracted by other political parties that may be playing either religious or ethnic cards. In PDP, we have no religious or ethnic card, we play only the Nigeria card. A card that will bring everybody on board, a card that will give a sense of belonging to every part of this country, to every religion, to every ethnicity.
“I have seen several requests that you have made here. These requests are legitimate and they fall within our policy which we tagged: ‘My Covenant with Nigerians meaning our promise to Nigerians.’
“The issue of the railway is there, the issue of rehabilitation of federal roads is also there.
Aba is the capital of the southeast as far as business is concerned. I remember when I addressed the business community in the Southeast in Aba, I promised them that I am going to set out a lot of money for the rehabilitation of businesses in Aba. That promise is still there.
“My vice president has announced that we are going to set aside $ 10 billion to make sure that we support businesses, particularly in this part of the country.
“On Abia dry port, many of you may not be aware but I am one of those as Vice President, who approved that dry port. The promoters know that but for me, they would not have gotten the approval to set up that dry port. It will be my pleasure to make sure that the dry port functions and are operating.
“We in PDP will be prepared to give Abians what Abians want. It is not an issue of ethnicity, it is not an issue of religion but it is an issue of good governance.
“You can all bear witness that when PDP was governing, Nigeria was prospering. That was the time Nigeria became the biggest economy in Africa. We created more jobs, we created more prosperity for everybody in this country. We brought about peace and we brought about unity.
“There was no question of people saying: ‘we were marginalized or we were not represented and so on.’ We provided a balanced leadership to this country. So, you have no reason not to vote for PDP.”
PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, in his remark, told the people of the southeast not to vote for Labour Party, as according to him, doing so will only help the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who has said will continue the marginalization of Igbos.
He averred that the only party that will give the southeast people victory and make sure their development goals are achieved is the PDP.
Ayu argued: “In 1998 When we formed this party, the Igbos played a key role. I want the younger generation of Igbos to come forward and show leadership. The South East people need outstanding leaders who will engage with the rest of Nigeria and bring benefits to their people.
“Voting Labour Party will not help you, it will be helping Bola Tinubu who will marginalize you for the next eight years and another marginalization will take place for the next 16 years.
“The only party, therefore, available for you is the PDP which is an organic party, the party of the people and that is why when I see people like you I am happy because PDP is the only party that no individual owns.
“This is the party owned by the people and will work for the people and, therefore, no single individual or a group of individuals can destabilize this party, because it is owned by the people.
“This is the only party that will give you victory and make sure that you achieve the development goals that you desire.”
The party boss accused the APC of engaging in lies, saying that the ruling party has brought shame to Nigeria.
He added: “Let me tell you that the other party is an alliance. All they know is a distortion of truth, propaganda, and lies and that is why even if we say anything, they go and use electronic machines and distort what we say.
“I want to repeat here that the APC has brought shame to Nigeria. It is the only party that has come in and everything has deteriorated.
“Today, rice that was eight thousand, is now N50,000 a bag. Today, you can’t buy kerosene, fuel, and even the Naira they have bastardized it. APC is a party of different factions, they are fighting among themselves, and they are the ones suffering you.
“The redesign of the currency is their policy, not the policy of the PDP. If you are suffering blame the APC. We have no hand in it. When we come in, we will correct all these ills and recover Nigeria for the benefit of the ordinary people.”
Also speaking at the rally, the PDP vice presidential candidate and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, vowed that PDP will restore the dignity of the Igbo, urging them not to vote for the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
While promising that southeast will get good positions in the PDP government, Okowa stated:: We want to restore the dignity of the Igbo and I believe with the PDP government into place from May 29, with Atiku at the head and myself as his vice, we will restore the dignity of the Igbo man. Because beyond what is coming to the southeast, I am also your own and what is due to the southeast, we must fight for it and we are sure that you receive all you want.
“We’ve seen the paper, this document and the request that has been made. You have not asked for anything that is abnormal and whatever is it is doable.
“We will be able to fulfil the promises that are there concerning the rail line from Port Harcourt to Aba and from Port Harcourt to Akwa Ibom. All these will be done because we all know what is right for our people.
“Atiku is a man who is fair and fair to all, a man who is ready to work with the Christians and Muslims. God did not make a mistake in bringing the Christian faith and Muslim faith to Nigeria and they are all in large numbers.
“The president we want is the president that can unite all the faiths to make life better for each one of us.
“We don’t want to fight but we say no to a Muslim-Muslum ticket because that is not the representative of Nigeria.
“But we know Atiku as a Muslim is in love with many Christians. His doctor is an Igbo man, and without trust, he cannot be his doctor.
“The Igbos will have a very meaningful position from the six positions that are distributable in the six zones. So, you will be having two at a time and be assured that by the grace of God, when it comes to a ministerial position you will not be pushed back, they will give you a ministerial position that will be useful to you and useful to Nigeria. What we need to do is to cast our votes.
“I want to beg us, we must not make the mistake of dividing the votes of the other parties because APC is in power at the moment but we want to take them out because they have not done well and they have presented the same faith ticket.
“So, we have to stay united to fight that battle and in staying united we have to vote PDP.”