The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has promised to restructure Nigeria and give the indigenes and residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) constitutional recognition if elected president in 2023.
He also promised to enhance security nationwide with special attention paid to Abuja because of its special status as the nation’s capital.
Atiku made the pledge during the PDP Presidential Campaign rally, at Eagle Square Abuja, Ssturday.
The former vice president who appealed to the people of the FCT to vote for him said: “If you give us your support again, we will do more than what we did between 1999 and 2015 for the residents of Abuja.
“All your entitlements under the current constitution, all the appointments that belong to Abuja will be given to Abuja. You know that we have done so before and we are going to do so again.
“If what you have demanded requires constitutional review, we assure you that we shall support that constitutional review so that your aspirations are protected and guaranteed in our new constitution.
“More so, we have pledged to restructure this country, in the process of restructuring, we shall give you all that you are demanding. I want to assure you that, and I want to promise you that.
“Currently we have challenges. Can you imagine Abuja is not secured? Can you imagine Abuja the federal capital not secured? We shall protect Abuja and secure it for your safety,” he added
The PDP candidate further said, “of course, you are aware of our five-point agenda. We shall unify this country. Every part of this country will be given a sense of belonging.
“No part will be sidelined; no part will be marginalised. That is how to bring a sense of unity to a country like Nigeria.
“We have pledged to restore security; it is very essential that we give everybody peace: a farmer peace to go to the farm, a trader peace to trade, peace to everybody.
“It is only when there is peace that we can undertake our different aspirations.
“We have promised that education is key to youth development. We have the highest number of out-of-school children.
“We will make sure that these children go back to school. Not only that, we will make sure that our universities reopen forever and ever.
“The people of Abuja – before anybody feels the impact of the government, you will be the first because you are in the federal capital. I promise that a PDP administration will fulfil all these obligations. We thank you very much indeed.“
Also speaking at the event, the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu urged indigenes and residents of the FCT to continue to keep faith with the PDP as they have done over the years.
He said: “We won AMAC, we won Kuje, we won Bwari, in other words, Abuja is PDP. We don’t need to come and campaign for you because we know what to do.
“More importantly vote for our president Atiku Abubakar, because he knows what you are going through, every citizen of Abuja is suffering.
“Our suffering is rising with the high cost of rice, a bag of rice is almost N50,000; most of us will not enjoy Christmas because of the APC, we are suffering from the high cost of gas, a kilogram of gas we don’t know how much now?
“These people who came with lies to vote for them have created so much poverty that today Nigeria is the capital of poverty in the world.
He lamented that under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s debt profile has risen to a level that most Nigerians now hide in shame.
According to him, with Atiku as President, this trend will be reversed and the economy will bounce back.
Ayu also said: “We don’t want an experimental president, we don’t want a president who will come and deceive you and would not know what to do.
“You know we wake up one day here in Abuja and we were threatened that the whole of Abuja is going to be attacked, insecurity is affecting everybody many of you all over the country you can’t travel to your home states because the roads are blocked by bandits, the railways are blocked by bandits, the airports are attacked by bandits, we can’t run a country controlled by bandits. Return this country to the PDP and see what we will do for you.“
On his part, the Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, said, “Atiku is the man that can speak to this economy and the economy will start jumping, the man that will speak to the economy of Nigeria and it will come back to life.
“Today even fuel – we don’t have fuel to come to this place, everything that PDP left has all vanished, Atiku is ready to tackle everything in this country, tackle youth unemployment, tackle the restiveness in this country, people will have other things to do.”
Also, the Director General of the Campaign and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said, “Atiku Abubakar has experience of governance at the National level, at the federal level. He is very familiar with the issues of the FCT and I am sure, he will address all of that when he comes on stage.
“Let me reassure you that this team, being led by the unifier, is prepared from day one, to provide real leadership, for the reunification, for the restructuring, re-securing and the recovery of Nigeria from all its challenges.“
Chuks Okocha in Abuja