Key supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the two major contenders in the 2019 presidential election yesterday gathered in Bauchi, Kano and Adamawa States to step up their campaigns ahead of the forthcoming general polls.
In Buhari’s camp were governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North East and North West as well as national leaders of the governing party who converged in Kano to receive decampees into the party fold and to mobilise massive support for the president in the next presidential election and, in Bauchi for the North East zonal meeting of the party.
Highlighting the salient qualities of Buhari and his achievements in office, the APC governors declared that they would garner bloc vote for the president to make the race a walkover for him.
In Kano, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and his Jigawa State counterpart, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar canvassed support for President Buhari, stating categorically that there is no alternative to the president come 2019.
Specifically, the state governor, Ganduje, promised that Kano will not only give Buhari the promised five million votes but would ensure that before 12 noon on the Election Day he will win the presidential election.
He said the APC in Kano had a peaceful conduct of its primaries which brought back 70, 80 and 90 per cent of all the Senate, Reps and House of Assembly members respectively.
The governor explained that this was part of efforts to ensure sustainability and continuity in the nation’s legislative chambers for the good of the Nigerian State.
Also speaking in Kano, Jigawa State governor, Badaru, accused the opposition of putting Nigeria in the economic morass it was enmeshed in by looting the treasury for 16 years.
He said President Buhari met an empty treasury, with states having problems to pay salaries, while various projects were abandoned because the money had been siphoned.
On his party, the APC national chairman, Oshiomhole, who formally received into the APC fold the former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, and his supporters, said people of same progressive political ideologies are returning to the party, while the corrupt ones are grouping into PDP.
He said that the APC is moving on the smooth path of the presidential campaign slogan of “Next Level”, stressing that “never again would this country be governed by opportunists who have in the last 16 years wasted the nation’s treasury, and the only way they will be permanently locked behind doors is by coming together of good people for the betterment of Nigeria.
“Today, our opponents in the PDP are crying even before the elections proper and want to write a letter of complaints to the United Nations. I wonder who will carry the letter for them forgetting that they introduced a do-or-die affair politics during Obasanjo’s tenure. Buhari is a gentleman who is highly respected across the globe, so he is bigger than rigging elections”, he added.
Oshiomhole who boasted that Buhari already has good 16 million votes after the primary elections said it is just a tip of the iceberg because Nigeria will never go back to the era of those who looted the treasury.
Oshiomhole described the likes of Shekarau and his followers as assets to Nigeria, thus making the election a walkover for Buhari.
In Bauchi, the state governor, Muhammad Abubakar, said the meeting would help in tackling APC’s internal problems, even as he urged those who lost in the primary elections to work with the winners to emerge victorious in the elections proper.
Abubakar appealed to the people of the North East to ensure the success of President Buhari and the APC in the general elections.
In his remarks, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, expressed optimism that the entire people of the North East and other states of the federation would vote for the APC because of the projects it had executed across the country.
The APC North East zonal vice chairman, Mr Mustapha Salisu, said that the meeting would enable all members of the party to share ideas on how to win the poll.
SGF Urges Members To Bury Grievances
Meanwhile, to ensure that APC’s house is in order, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has implored members of the party to bury their differences and work for the success of Buhari and the party in the 2019 general elections.
Mustapha who led the party’s North East leaders at a two-day meeting in Bauchi said that “grievance is an enemy of progress”, just as he admonished the APC faithful to work towards the successful outing for the party in the forthcoming general elections, adding that “we have to forgive and forget.”
He noted that the reconciliation committee set up by the national leadership of the APC would be the best solution to the crisis bedeviling the party.
Represented by the director-general, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abare, the SGF said that the committee came at a right time when the 2019 general elections were approaching.
OBJ Pushes For Atiku, Says He Won’t Disappoint Nigerians
Meanwhile, for Atiku’s loyalists who assembled in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, for his turbanning as the 7th Adamawa Waziri, the former vice president, who is the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is the man to beat.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who attended the event alongside other prominent Nigerians and PDP chieftains, stated that Atiku would not disappoint the citizenry if elected into office.
He spoke at the Lamido Fombina Palace, Yola, where Atiku was turbaned Waziri Adamawa by the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Aliyu Barkindo Mustapha.
Obasanjo, who recently ended his feud with Atiku that spanned through the period the latter served as the former’s deputy, said that the PDP standard bearer would bring honour and dignity to his office as president of the country.
At the Yola event, Obasanjo insisted that Atiku would not fail Nigerians if elected at the poll.
Lacing his speech with humour, Obasanjo praised Atiku for his strong business, cultural and political character, explaining that in their days at the presidential villa, the Waziri Adamawa never forgot where he came from.
Obasanjo said, “No matter the issues today, I know you will not disappoint. When we were in Abuja dealing with national and international issues, you did not take lightly the cultural heritage of your people.
“I am sure you will bring honour to this position and I want to thank you, Waziri for doing all of us proud.”
Revisiting his three-year stint at the Yola prison, which is close to the palace, Obasanjo hinted of his readiness to accept any traditional title from the Lamido Adamawa provided he is deemed fit for it.
He said, “I did not live in the palace but only a wall separated us. If you give me a turban, I will take it.”
President Buhari who was represented at the event by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammed Bello, wished Atiku a successful reign.
Bello said, “The president sent me here as a show of the respect he has for you (Atiku) and the Fombina Kingdom. He wishes you and the entire Adamawa Kingdom good health and prosperity. The President wishes you a successful reign as Waziri Adamawa in peace and prosperity.”
The ceremony was attended by former President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-vice president, Namadi Sambo; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Yakubu Dogara; governors Ibrahim Dankwambo, Seriake Dickson, Darius Ishaku, Abdulfatai Ahmed and Udom Emmanuel of Gombe, Bayelsa, Taraba, Kwara and Akwa Ibom States respectively.
Others were PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin; former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; former Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah (rtd) and one-time minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi.