Why I called off campaign in Rivers – Atiku

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has unveiled his campaign promises for Rivers State even as he said that he decided not to have a campaign rally in the State to avoid loss of lives and destruction of properties.

Atiku, who stated this when he met with Rivers State PDP stakeholders in Abuja late Sunday night, said his campaign and the PDP fully subscribed to the position that no political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

Recall that PDP leaders had rejected the venue approved by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, a member of G-5 governors after he had revoked the earlier approval granted to use the venue.

But speaking to the Rivers PDP stakeholders in Abuja, the former vice president said, “I want to start by acknowledging the circumstances and turn of events that have led us to this unique style of a campaign rally.

According to him, “Although we did not wish for this, it became expedient that we think and act innovatively to protect the lives of our people from the mindless violence and bloodshed instigated by the very persons who have the primary responsibility for their security and wellbeing.

“Our campaign and indeed the PDP subscribes fully to the position that no political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

“Clearly, events on the ground in Rivers State, and this gathering here at the insistence of our Rivers PDP family, confirm the historic relationship between me and Rivers state.

“Beyond being a good corporate citizen of Rivers State, I have deeply connected with several families in Rivers State over the years, a relationship that has endured for decades, long before politics. That is why I remain confident of the support of Rivers people for PDP and our presidency.”

Atiku said Rivers State and her people were bound by destiny to be critical stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Atiku/Okowa presidency in multiple ways.

He further reassured the Rivers people that the state will regain its preeminent position in the governance and politics of Nigeria.

“Amongst other dividends, the transportation infrastructure in Rivers State will receive priority attention. The existing seaports will be expanded to increase economic activities that will have a multiplier effect on the economy of Rivers State for the prosperity of our people.

“The uncompleted rail line from Onne Port to join the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail line, which has been on the drawing board for decades will be completed speedily, while the deep seaport in Bonny will receive immediate attention.

“The completion of the East-West Road will be a cardinal priority commitment for our presidency. The international airport in Port Harcourt will receive increased attention and investment to become a truly regional hub.

“The youth of Rivers State, like other states in the Niger Delta will benefit from our dedicated economic empowerment scheme as a means of dealing with the persistent youth restiveness and discontent which has sometimes created security challenges.

“Among other initiatives, the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) will be revamped and restructured to become an enduring platform for unleashing the boundless creative energies and potentials of our youth in Rivers State.

“Our Recovery Agenda for Nigeria has a front-row seat for Rivers women who are brilliant, talented, and hardworking. The women of Rivers State will benefit from our special entrepreneurial funding targeted at women in addition to being considered for appointments to various offices.

“As a corporate citizen of Rivers State for many decades, I know that Rivers people appreciate that an Atiku presidency is inherently in their best interests, which is why you have made it your own project at great human and material sacrifice.

“I assure you that your sacrifice and support will be fully rewarded with good governance that will allow your aspirations to be realized.

“I, therefore, urge you to keep the faith, even in the face of harassment and needless violent intimidation, turn out massively on Saturday, 25th February 2023, and cast your votes as usual for PDP. I assure you that your sacrifice and support will be fully rewarded.

“I wish you safe journey back home. Keep safe. May God continue to bless the Peoples Democratic Party. May God bless Rivers State. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thank you very much,” he added.

Some of those present at the meeting included former Vice President Nnamadi Sambo; Atiku’s running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; former PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; former Rivers State governor, Celestine Omehia; Senator Lee Maeba; former PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, among others.