Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, at his rally in Lagos, pledged to devolve more powers to states and local government.
Atiku, who seized the opportunity of the rally to pick on his main rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, told Lagosians that the former Lagos State governor lied when he claimed to have built the state.
But one of the spokespersons of the Tinubu/Shettima campaign, Festus Keyamo, has said it was Atiku, who goofed, because indeed, Tinubu built modern Lagos.
Speaking at the Lagos rally, which took place at the Tafawa Belewa Square, Atiku said, “We will give your states and local governments more power and resources.
“It is up to you to hold them responsible. Therefore, the people of Lagos it is high time you took your destiny into your own hands for your own future, not for the future of one family. For in the last 23 years, you are governed by one family. It is your right and your duty to take over that governance and hand it over to yourselves that is what the PDP stands for,” Atiku said.
Referring to claims by Tinubu that he built Lagos State, Atiku said, “The federal government built the Second Mainland Bridge; the federal government rebuilt the old Carter Bridge, built the Third Mainland Bridge, rebuilt the Agege-Ikorodu motor road, rebuild Ikorodu road, and all the major roads connecting Island and Mainland.
“Now the AD, ACN APC government has been telling you lies that they develop Lagos; they are lying to you, therefore, it is time for you the people of Lagos to liberate yourself from a family government to a people’s government led by Jandor.
“On my own part, if you elect me as your president, I promise by the grace of God that I am going to set aside $10 billion so that we can empower our young men and women in small medium enterprises.
“People were asking me where I am going to get the money. If I privatise the Port Harcourt refinery, Warri refinery, and Kaduna refinery, I will get the money. So, let me also promise you, if you elect me, we are going to restructure this country; what do we mean by restructuring?” he asked
In his comments, the Chairman of PDP presidential campaign, Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State said, “Let me tell you something that you have forgotten, in those days, whenever you need a job, whenever you need somebody, you can sit by the roadside and roast and eat agbado and ugba and be able to pay house rent, it was only in Lagos State.
“The economy of Lagos was more buoyant than the economy of so many West African countries put together. But today if you enter old Oregun, Ilepeju, do we still have those companies again? No.
“In those days of PDP from 1999, once you enter Lagos, you will see trains all over Lagos working, That showed that the economy was moving. I am telling Lagosians, Lagos is where money is made, Abuja is where money is spent, south-south is where money is produced.
“Under PDP, we will restore the economy of Nigeria. All those factories that have left Lagos will come back. Under Atiku Abubakar’s administration, the economy of Lagos will bounce back; everything will come back to life. You can imagine the situation we are having right now. It takes only one route to come to Lagos Island, but it was not like that.
“We want to promise you that we are here in terms of the economy. Once you settle the economy of Lagos, you settle two-thirds of the economy of Nigeria,” he stressed.
The national chairman of the PDP, Dr.Iyorchia Ayu, pledged that the the PDP would liberate Lagos.
“We shall rescue Lagos from the hands of people, who don’t want progress for Lagos people and for Nigerians. Liberating Lagos is like liberating Nigeria, because Lagos is an important part of Nigeria.
“Lagos is the biggest city in the country with a population of about 25million people, which is more than most African countries and other countries in the world.
“It is a very rich state, a state that there should be no poverty. In 1993, our leader, Chief MKO Abiola, said farewell to poverty was going to begin in Lagos. We have brought you hope, we have brought you a man, who is experienced; who knows Lagos, who knows Nigerians, who is leading the crusade to rescue Lagos, end poverty, create jobs and make sure that you are not over tasked.
“With a president from the PDP, we shall make sure that it will be better for all of us,” Ayu stated.
The vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of. Delta State, urged Lagosians to vote for the PDP as the South-south geopolitical zone, has resolved to follow the party and Atiku.
According to Okowa, “In the South-south, we are prepared to deliver our votes to the PDP and its presidential candidate. We have a presidential candidate that is accepted in all the zones of the country and the reason why he is accepted is because he is the only one that has experience.
“We want a Nigeria that works for everybody. In Lagos State, we want a Lagos that works for everybody, not only for the rich but also for the poor, because Lagos State is for all and therefore, the resources of Lagos State must be used to uplift our youths and create jobs for them. That is the Lagos State that we want.
“We do not want a Lagos state where the rich will become richer and the poor poorer. This Nigeria that we see today is not the Nigeria that we want, so, I want to urge you all go out and campaign for Atiku Abubakar, because he will restore the lost glory of this country,” Okowa said.
According to him, the PDP worked for Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, saying, “Some people said they want change, we have seen the change that they brought, but today, the people are wiser. So, from door to door, home to home, market to market, go and campaign for the PDP so that with Atiku Abubakar as President in 2023, it will be well for Nigeria and the youths.”
In his welcome address, Jandor said, “Lagos residents have been complaining about the suffering from NURTW. I want to tell you they are not the ones terrorizing you; it is the government. If they want it stopped, it will stop.
“Funke and I will be the ones that will put an end to the political dynasty that has been existing in Lagos more than two decades ago.”
The rally witnesses the presence of a former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim; Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Titi Abubaker, former Governor of Rivers State, Celestine Omehia; former NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Timi Alaibe, and former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Dr. Weripamowei Dudafa.
Others were former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Mukhtar Shagari, Senator Effiong Bob, Chief Emma Ogidi, Chief Remi Adikwu and Mr. Ken Imasuangbon.
Chuks Okocha, Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Segun James in Lagos