As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifts the ban on campaign for the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections today, the main political parties are rolling out activities to mark the beginning of electioneering. While the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has promised that his party will reverse the dire economic fortunes of Nigerians if voted into power next year, President Muhammadu Buhari is set to roll out his achievements in the last three and a half years in office.
Atiku stated his desire to end hunger, starvation and bad governance by the APC yesterday at his residence in Yola, the Adamawa State capital. He called on the electorate to vote PDP at all levels of government during the 2019 general election, saying only the party has the capacity to rescue Nigerians from their current suffering orchestrated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Besides, in a manner reminiscent of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2011 presidential election declaration, Atiku will kick-start his campaign through an address to the Nigerian people on Facebook at 12 noon on Monday, where he will launch his policy document. This was disclosed yesterday by his campaign organisation.
In a related development, Buhari will today in Abuja present his scorecard to the country to try to prop up his second term bid. The presentation is part of activities leading to the formal campaign flag-off for the 2019 presidential election. It will involve interactions by Buhari with a select group representing major segments of the Nigerian society to showcase his achievements in office in the last three and a half years.
Atiku explained that the PDP was ready to rescue Nigeria’s economy, restore its glory and project the country as the giant of Africa. He said he would unveil his mission plan in Abuja and Nigerians will see PDP’s strategy for ending hunger and bad governance in the country.
According to the former vice president, his mission plan will give the country hope in security, economic development, education, employment, and stability.
He said, “We are committed to change the narratives of this country from bad to good and give hope to our youths, women and the older age groups of this nation.
“With all sense of belonging, we don’t have any country elsewhere. If we don’t put our country in order, who will put it for us? It is time to make a difference.”
Atiku’s campaign organisation said his decision to begin his presidential campaign with the launch of his policy document was to reiterate his commitment to run an issue-based campaign.
A statement by the organisation said Atiku’s address would present his vision for Nigeria and his action plan to achieve it as encapsulated in his policy document. It said the document would be promptly uploaded on the former vice president’s website (www.atiku.org) for all Nigerians to access at no cost.
The statement said, “The intention is to take our policy directly to Nigerians and to register the belief of Atiku Abubakar that it will take the collective efforts of every Nigerian to rebuild the country. That is why we want Nigerians to access the policy directly and ultimately take ownership of it.
“Our campaign offers a simple message: united, the people of Nigeria can begin anew, creating a prosperous and secure future and a better life for every Nigerian.
“On the first working day of the campaign, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will put forward his plan to get Nigeria working again.
“We have chosen to do this by having the PDP presidential candidate speaking directly to the Nigerian people on Facebook. This medium came about as part of the telecommunications revolution that he helped start as Vice President in 1999-2007.”
Atiku explained that his policy document focused on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture, education, and women empowerment.
He added, “Our policies outline the goals and methods for developing and revitalising Nigeria as the foundation of our campaign.
“This policy document is being launched to encourage a dialogue with the people of Nigeria, inviting everyone to join us in helping to get Nigeria working again.”
The former vice president said he looked forward to conducting vital discussions as he travels across the length and breadth of Nigeria, meeting and talking with stakeholders: famers, small business people, workers, students, mothers, and children.
Atiku, who was received at the Yola International Airport by his supporters, said, regarding his homecoming, that they had gone to Port Harcourt for the PDP presidential primaries and conquered and there was need to come home to brief the stakeholders of the state on their success. He said Adamawa people should be grateful to the Almighty God for selecting their son to run for the country’s presidential seat, saying he will be victorious come 2019 by God’s grace.
Buhari to List Achievements
Meanwhile, following allegations of non-performance, especially from the main opposition party, PDP, Buhari and his party will use today’s scorecard presentation to try to be preempt the opposition, which plans to start its national campaign on Monday.
According to the official invitation for the event, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, it is expected to commence by 4.30 pm.
Both Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo will host the event.
Christened, “The Next Level – the Achievements and Projections of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration,” the event would be a self-appraisal for the president and his campaign team before going out to face Nigerians.
Spokesman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, told THISDAY yesterday evening that the president will formally present his three and a half years scorecard to Nigerians as a mark of honour before going ahead with campaigns for re-election.
“The president believes it is important to first tell Nigerians what he has achieved. We feel it is not proper to kick-start the campaigns without telling people what you have achieved so far,” Keyamo said.
He explained that the party was mapping out series of activities to usher in the presidential campaign.
Keyamo said, “To kick-start that, we are having an event tomorrow at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja ostensibly to tell people what we have achieved in the last three and a half years. That event will also present the next level of our intervention. That was not done in the past but we want to start it by showing what we have done first.”
A statement issued yesterday by the Buhari campaign organisation, signed by Keyamo, said, “As campaigns for the Presidential and National Assembly elections officially kick off tomorrow, President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to first showcase his achievements and projections for the next four years to Nigerians before the official flag-off of the campaigns. The event for this presentation is tagged ‘THE NEXT LEVEL’, which will take place at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa on Sunday, November 18, 2018, from 5pm to 8pm. It would be broadcast live from different TV stations and will be a precursor to the official flag-off of the campaigns.