The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, took his campaign to Owerri, Imo State on Saturday, saying the South-East has no reason not to back the party with their votes come February 25, 2023.
“I want to assure you that you will have no cause to regret voting PDP. The PDP witnessed the greatest growth in this country during its years. We shall repeat it and even surpass what we did when were in government,” Atiku told a crowd of supporters.
“I assure you and I swear to God, we are capable of doing it again because those of us who did it last time are still alive and strong. See me here. So, the people of Imo and the South-East, you have absolutely no reason to vote for any other party other than PDP.”
Atiku courted the support of his party’s stalwarts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) stronghold with reference to his Igbo ties “for many decades” and his self-professed ability to bring economic and systemic transformation to the region.
“For me, it is a homecoming to Imo again. The first chieftaincy title to be given to me in the South East was given to me here in Imo State – Nwanne Di N’Mba of Ngo Okpala. This Imo airport, we dashed it to the people of Imo.
“Our community, the community to which I belong, the community that honoured me first in the South-East. That is why if I am the president, Imo is the presidency. It is your own presidency.
“I want to assure you that if I have the opportunity and you elect me, business and trading will pick up again because, in my policy document, I said I am going to set aside $10 billion just to empower women and young men in business. So, there will be absolutely no need for any young man or woman not to have something to do,” he said.
The PDP standard bearer also promised to deal with the country’s security challenges and take active steps towards restructuring the country.
“I know we have security challenges all over the country. Let me tell you, when you elect me president, I will come here, sit down with you, discuss with you, ‘What is your problem?’ And together, we will work out a settlement,” he said.
“I know the entire South-East is yearning for restructuring of the country, and it is one of the five items on my agenda that I will sit down with every part of this country, whatever devolution of power we want and resources we want, we will work with the National Assembly to make sure power and resources are devolved to the federating units.”
No Division Tolerated
On his part, the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, warned that the party would not tolerate division in the party, assuring supporters that if Atiku is elected, he will bring development to Imo and tackle insecurity.
“The state is a PDP state. Since 1999, the state has always been a PDP state. All (the indigenes) that left, including Rochas Okorocha, were all PDP. We must ensure unity to win. We won’t tolerate division in the party. We must work together and produce the president on the 25th of February.
“Everyone must mobilise everyone. Once you win the presidency, we will take Imo back. If you vote for Atiku, he will bring security and development to the state. Vote for a person who understands the country and knows how to tackle insecurity. Igbo people are prosperous people and we will support the youths and women,” Ayu said, according to a statement.
Earlier, the PDP vice presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, said the Imo youths had shown they were ready to vote for the PDP, adding entrepreneurs and youths in the state would benefit “immensely” from an Atiku presidency.
The Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Governor Aminu Tambuwal, told the crowd that Atiku was familiar with the issues of the state as well as the entire South-East.
“He is here seeking your support to recover this country,” he said
Atiku also paid a courtesy visit to the monarchs in the state. He took to Twitter to share photos of the moment.
“My team and I just ended a meeting with traditional rulers in Imo State under the auspices of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Chairmanship of HRH Dr E. C. Okeke, CFR, Ezeudo II of Amaifeke. Our engagement was robust and reassuring,” he tweeted.
“I’m also grateful to the monarchs for sharing their time and for the wealth of their insights.