President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday visited each other’s state of origin in continuation of their campaign ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
Buhari hails from Daura in Katsina State while Atiku is from Jada, Adamawa State.
Addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters during the APC presidential rally at the Ribadu Square in Yola, Adamawa State, Buhari pledged to complete projects he had initiated in the state as head of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
He also restated his resolve to ensure prosecution of looters of public funds, saying his government would trace and recover stolen funds.
“The projects we started in PTF together with an indigene of this state, Engineer Ahmad Salihijo have not yet been completed.
“We are executing various projects in this state and God grace we will continue to do more if re-elected,” he said.
Buhari, whose wife Aisha Buhari is also from Yola, Adamawa State, added that “The people of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe know what we have achieved in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. The government provided agricultural inputs and in the last three farming seasons we enjoyed the bumper harvest.”
The APC National chairman, Adams Oshiomhole urged Adamawa voters to engage the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to mention the projects he brought to the state.
Oshiomhole said between 1999 and 2007, Atiku executed private projects for himself. He owned the American University of Nigeria, the AUN Club, Faro Water, Rico Gado Animal Feeds and ABTI Printing Press Ltd, among others.
He urged voters to ask the former vice president about projects he attracted to Adamawa, saying the 45,000 people Atiku claimed to have employed in Adamawa should vote for him.
The state PDP chairman, Barrister Tahir Shehu, however replied Oshiomole saying as vice president, Atiku had made Adamawa State so proud because of the development he attracted.
There was a drama when former military governor of Lagos State, Buba Marwa who spoke on behalf of wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, chanted “Nigeria sai Buhari!” and did not chant the usual “Adamawa Sai Bindow” in recognition of the Governor Jibrilla Bindow who is the APC governorship candidate in the state.
The Ribadu Square was filled to capacity giving the security tough time with thousands of supporters struggling to catch a glimpse of the president.
When some of the dignitaries on the platform advised Marwa to reconose the governor, he collected the microphone again and said the Wife of the President wanted the people to vote for Bindow because voting for him was the same as voting for her younger brother, Modi, some supporters of the governor challenged Marwa angrily, saying “they are not the same”.
Mahmud Halilu, known as Modi, lost out in the governorship primary and is believed to be behind the legal move to disqualify Bindow from participating in the elections over alleged WAEC certificate forgery.
Earlier, Buhari visited the palace of the Chairman, Adamawa State Council of Emirs and Chiefs, the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa.
The Lamido, while welcoming the president, said, “The giant strides and inroads you recorded in various fields of our endeavours such as economy, security, and fight against corruption, which still remain the cornerstone of your agenda, would not have been made possible if not for your resilient focus, passion, and love for the country.
“Mr President, there is no doubt that much has been achieved during your present tenure but certainly you need more time to actualize your dream for a better Nigeria. This, therefore, calls for all and sundry to rally round you and allow you to get to the next level to enable you consolidate the various laudable programs of your party.”
In Katsina State, the presidential candidate of the PDP Atiku Abubakar said electing him into office by Katsina people will be like fulfilling the dreams and aspiration of late Shehu Musa Yaradua.
Speaking at a rally attended by a huge crowd of supporters at the Karakanda Stadium, Atiku said “I’m from Katsina, late Shehu Yar’adua brought me into politics, late Shehu in 1993 made me a candidate that was never to be, his dreams are being fulfilled today,” he said
Atiku said electorates should be careful and wary of the APC administration for its failure in fulfilling its earlier promises.
He promised address insecurity challenges, provides jobs for youth and women as well as tackle unemployment, adding that this election is for the youth, we are handing to you, ensure you remain and get the results. Don’t be cheated. It’s your election”.
While warning security agencies to keep off election matters as their job is only to protect and ensure peaceful polls, Atiku warned them against partisanship.
In his remarks, the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus said APC government is confused, worried and adopting all measures to rig this election.
He said “Atiku is a symbol of unity. We will reject any result that will be rigged by APC. It is time for all to join the train of Atiku.”
“The mammoth crowd before us today is a celebration of victory of next president and we believe with these numbers and crowd there is no doubt that this is Katsina and they are voting for Atiku” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the party in the state and former Governor Ibrahim Shema urged all Nigerians irrespective of whatever party to note that this election is about a person who can deliver and that person is Atiku.
“Atiku is a man of his words and loves the people, a man who loves all and the nation at heart. We believe these attributes are with all of the party’s candidates,” Shema said.
Atiku, upon arrival in the state, proceeded to Daura, the home town of President Muhammadu Buhari to pay homage to the Emir Umar Faruk and meet with his supporters.
Atiku was also at the palace of Emir of Katsina Abdulmumini Kabir Usman. He equally visited the mother of Shehu and Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Hajiya Dada, at the Yar’adua quarters.
Some PDP stalwarts spoken to said Atiku is just coming home to meet his family because his close and well established ties with Katsina is not new.
Former deputy governor of Katsina State, Garba Faskari, ex commissioner local government, Hamisu Makana, while appreciating the turnout, said this is a clear signal that the people are tired of the ruling APC and want a return of the PDP which has instituted a solid foundation of achievement in the state.
On his part the Senior Special assistant Abdu Labaran said his coming to Katsina is a non-issue and a herculean task on him to get support.
Labaran said allowing Atiku free access to the state and stadium where the rally took place showed that Governor Aminu Bello Masari is a true democrat.
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