• Tinubu, Okowa, Obi, others hail ex-VP
As congratulatory messages continued to pour in for former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, has lamented that voting preferences at the convention still reflected old pattern of primordial sentiments and wondered if the national desire to find solutions to her problems would be realised by such actions.
In a statement he personally signed, he however, congratulated Atiku who polled 371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who scored 237 votes.
Anyim, who polled 14 votes thanked all those who supported his quest to be the PDP 2023 presidential candidate.
“I am proud to have gone through the race to the end. However, I am shocked that consideration for voting the PDP presidential candidate was not based on burning national issues and how to resolve them, but still on the old primordial sentiments. It appears doubtful if our search for nationhood is yielding any results.
“I deeply appreciate and thank all those who stood by me throughout this race, especially those that voted for me at the primary election. I want to assure all of you that we shall continue to stand tall until we birth the Nigeria of our collective dreams.”
•Okowa, Nwobodo, Imansuangbon rally support
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged defeated aspirants to close ranks and work for the success of the party in next year’s election.
He also appealed to leaders and stakeholders to avoid sabotaging it but to put in genuine efforts for the party’s victory.
According to him, if PDP is to win and rescue Nigerians from the maladministration of theAPC-led Federal Government, all hands must be on deck to achieve this mission.
In a statement by his media aide, the governor expressed confidence in Atiku’s capability to provide needed leadership that would lead the party to accomplish its “Rescue Nigeria” agenda beginning from 2023.
He urged him to, as the face of the PDP in 2023 general elections, bring his political and socio-economic wherewithal to bear on the responsibility.
Okowa, who was Chairman of Accreditation Committee of Convention, also congratulated National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and other stakeholders of the party for conducting a peaceful and successful convention.
Similarly, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra and presidential aspirant prayed for God’s blessings on Atiku.
In a tweet yesterday, Obi called him “my leader and dear brother.”
“On behalf of my family, I sincerely congratulate my leader and dear elder brother, H.E Atiku, on his emergence as the 2023 presidential flag bearer of the PDP,” he tweeted.
“I pray that the Almighty God who sees your goodness will continue to bless you now and always. -PO.”
The former Anambra governor joined the Labour Party on Friday after resigning his membership of the PDP.
Similarly, former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, said Atiku has the ability and tenacity to restore the unity, security and economy of Nigeria if elected president.
In his congratulatory message to Atiku, the national chairman of PDP, Dr. Ayu and the stakeholders in a statement he personally signed, Nwobodo said the PDP’s victory was for all Nigerians.
Encouraging the candidate to follow through with his acceptance speech, Nwobodo, senator between 1999 and 2003 enjoined Atiku to reunite all aggrieved members of the PDP who left just as he asked other contestants of the presidential ticket to rally round the former vice president for victory at the polls.
For Kenneth Imansuagbon, the emergence of the former vice president reaffirmed his nationwide acceptability to rescue the country.
The former governorship aspirant in Edo State appealed to Nigerians to queue behind him to change the negative narratives of underdevelopment and economic woes.
He urged PDP faithful to come together as a strong and united party to send the “rudderless APC government” packing next year.
“We cannot wait to see Alhaji Atiku Abubakar assume office as the country’s next president whereby he will bring in his chains of people-oriented programmes that are fashioned towards getting us out of the hordes of crises we face daily.
“Therefore, the task at hand, going forward, is to ensure victory at the polls in order to save our fatherland from the current regime of annihilation bestriding it. Nigerians must get it right in 2023. If not, we may be condemned to eternal suffering. The only way to get it right is by voting for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who once again has offered himself for service of his fatherland,” he said.
•Assuage S’East to win region’s votes
Former national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, said the PDP would have to work hard at ameliorating the pains of the South East over their inability to produce the presidential candidate if it hopes to win votes in the region.
“I cannot phantom reason the PDP denied us the ticket. If you ask me, I cannot say, I will not be convinced by any argument by anybody on why we were not given the ticket. I made it clear that it is a very bitter pill for the South East to swallow and we are looking forward to how the PDP will ameliorate that decision it took”, he said.
Nwodo, former governor of Enugu State during the aborted Third Republic regretted that despite the appeals by eminent members of the party that the zoning arrangement of the PDP, by which it is the turn of the south, particularly, the South East to produce the presidential candidate for 2023, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), decided to throw the contest open to all.
•Tinubu seeks issues-based campaigns
Frontline APC presidential aspirant, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, charged Atiku to base his campaigns on issues.
In a statement in Abuja, he commended him for his patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s progress, but warned that Nigerians would ask him pertinent questions during the campaigns.
He said Abubakar must be prepared to tell Nigerians how he planned to reverse his party’s ruination of Nigeria’s prospects during its 16 years governance between 1999 and 2015.
Tinubu said he expected Abubakar, who was also the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP, to be his worthy opponent, “by the grace of God and the support of APC’s delegates at the coming 2023 president election’.’
He said the PDP and its candidate would unfortunately be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after being in government at the centre for 16 years without much to show.
According to Tinubu, Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of the country for 16 years by successive PDP administrations.
The two-term Lagos State governor stressed that this bad memory would dog the campaign of the PDP candidate.
“Nevertheless, I once again congratulate our former vice-president for his victory at his party’s primary election,’’ Tinubu said.
He added that Abubakar’s victory did not come as a surprise to Nigerians because of his vast experience as a statesman and veteran of many presidential contests since 1993.
He welcomed the PDP candidate to the race, stressing that the 2023 election campaigns should be about issues that would improve the quality of life of Nigerians.
He added that the election should also bring peace, progress, political stability and solve myriad of the socio political challenges and insecurity currently facing the country.
“I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the PDP at the just-concluded primary election. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent at the coming election.
“I have known the former vice-president as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country.
“As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife.
“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issues-based; election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people,’’ Tinubu stressed.
He also congratulated the other PDP contestants for the orderly and peaceful way they conducted themselves and their resolve and pledge to rally round the Abubakar in the true spirit of democratic sportsmanship.
He said the party jettisoned the zoning agreement that power should rotate to the south, particularly the South East in 2023 when the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party decided to throw the race open to all.
He said aspirants from the South East participated in the primary but regretted that the outcome was painful and left a sour taste in the mouth of the South East, which has shown unflinching loyalty to the PDP since 1999.
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