* Invites Obasanjo, Jonathan, Sambo, Mark, BoT members, govs
*Atiku: APC beyond May 29 is burden too heavy for Nigerians
*Ikpeazu declares support for former vice-president
Uyo the capital city of Akwa Ibom state , South South Nigeris is agog as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), flag off its presidential campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
On arrival to Uyo, the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar, said it would be extra burden too heavy for Nigerians to bear if the APC continued in office after May 29, 2023.
At the same time, one of the governors loyal to the Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, has declared that Atiku was his presidential candidate and had nothing against him.
However, according to the chairman of the Presidential Campaigns Council and Governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, who signed the letters of invitation, the party extended courtesies to all former presidents produced by the party, including Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former vice president, Namadi Sambo to the occasion.
Others invited included former senate presidents David Mark, Pius Anyim Adolphus Wababa, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as well as all members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
Expected at the event were all the PDP governors, former governors, former ministers, all former presidential aspirants of the party, all serving and former members of the National Assembly.
Emmanuel, who was on hand to receive delegations at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, expressed delight over the hosting of the campaign flag-off and thanked the leadership of the party for entrusting him and other members of the campaign council with the task of driving the Atiku/Okowa rescue mission.
Giving assurances of the Campaign Council’s preparedness for a grand rally to launch the PDP to victory, Emmanuel said, the flag-off promised to be stunning, adding that the outstanding performances by PDP governors had given impetus to the party.
“Let me thank PDP for the confidence they have in us. If you see the whole affairs of the party is piloted by the governors. It’s a whole confidence in us that the party can derive the strength from what the governors are doing in different states. Talking about how prepared we are, rest assured this will be one of the best,” he stated.
On his part, the Vice-Presidential candidate and Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was part of those who arrived yesterday, said the campaign kick-off would be an extension of the loudly celebrated 35th anniversary of Akwa Ibom State creation and commencement of PDP’s celebration of the 2023 victory.
He described Emmanuel’s chairmanship of the campaign council as special, hence the party’s anticipation of a great and exciting outing.
Similarly, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who was already on ground, lauded Emmanuel’s ingenuity of bringing his private sector capacity, competence, skills and dexterity to bear in managing party and state affairs, thus reaffirming the party’s confidence in his leadership ability.
“We are very pleased and proud of Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is the Chairman of Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign. We couldn’t have made a better choice as a party,” he said, adding that Nigerians would soon come to terms with the correctness in the choice of Okowa from the South-south zone as the vice-presidential candidate of PDP.
But, Atiku in his statement yesterday, said, “I believe that your being here is because we share a common belief that an extra day of the APC administration beyond May 29 next year, will be a burden too heavy for our country to bear.
“You are here because you believe, like I do, that Nigeria deserves a president, who is prepared and ready to lead from day one. You believe that Nigeria needs a UNIFIER and a leadership that leaves no one behind in our march to peace and prosperity.
You are here because you believe that this is the moment that God has designed for this country to rise again. Tomorrow, on 10 October, I shall be joining other leaders of our great party – PDP – to converge on Uyo for the flag-off of our presidential campaign,” he stated.
However, Ikpeazu, on his part, said, “There is no battle between the presidential candidate and I. He is my presidential candidate. I don’t have any other candidate but at times, when one gets to a certain point in life, and a vehicle is put down for a journey, even the destination of the vehicle. That is the question I am asking. I am an apologists of the PDP since 1999 and needed to ask a question.
“The greatest need of Nigerians today is inclusiveness. Can we be sensitive to the feelings of other people? Can I be guaranteed a country where a criminal in Sokoto is a criminal in Abia and a criminal Abia is a criminal in Zamfara?
“Can I be guaranteed a country where my son will not be brutalised because his name is Okolie? Can I be”, he asked.