APC, PDP in fierce battle as 2019 election campaigns gathers steam

Two issues will drive the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign for the 2019 elections, it was learnt yesterday.

The issues are:

the character of the contestants, including President Muhammadu Buhari; and
the Buhari administration's achievements.
But the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is stressing restructuring as the magic pill for Nigeria's ailments.

Its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar yesterday promised to initiate restructuring within the first six months should the party win the election.

He spoke in Ibadan at the opening of the PDP's campaign in the Southwest.

In Abuja, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) met with its governorship candidates as a prelude to the take-off of its campaign.

A Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) is to be announced soon.

It will be led by Buhari.

APC National Publicity Secretary Lanre Issa Onilu said: "We are not worried, we are ready for the battle ahead. We will be focusing on two issues: the character of those who want to rule us and the difference APC has made in three and a half years in terms of achievements compared to 16 wasteful years of PDP.

"Our campaign is essentially going to be on stewardship. For three and a half years, we have been campaigning with our performance but we will lay these achievements before Nigerians.

"For every kilometre of road constructed, it is an indication that what PDP could not do in 16 years, we have done it. For every rail track laid and every megawatt of electricity added, we will render account and ask Nigerians to see the difference."

On threats by Atiku to defeat Buhari and send him back to Daura, Onilu said: "I want to say that the 2019 poll is a no-contest because Atiku Abubakar is no match for Buhari.

"It will be too much of a risk for Nigerians to concede the right to govern this country to Atiku.

" He is not even qualified to contest the election. Go and look at his antecedents. Just last week, he was taken to court over tax issues. He only recently paid the backlog of his taxes.

" Atiku should be concerned about Adamawa State because he will be defeated there. The presidential election will start and end in Adamawa for Atiku."

In Ibadan, PDP was stressing "restructuring".

The well attended rally took place – at the historic Mapo Hall in the acient city. The PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus warned all Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals (MDAs) against compromising for the Buhari administration, saying they are under close watch by Nigerians.

Secondus, accused the APC government led by President Buhari of raising money through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to fund its election.

The PDP chairman said: "At this juncture, we know that the APC government has gone to the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) to raise money for election. We warn all the parastatals to be careful because this is a lame dock government. We warn all the government agencies and parastatals that as they are taking the money, somebody is watching and snapping you and as you are going to steal the money for APC campaign it is time for you to know that APC cannot continue to steal and yet the armed robbers will be calling other people thieves. Enough is enough."

Secondus said Atiku would rescue Nigeria, because, according to him, he has been tried and tested, particularly in the area of handling economic matters. He said his administration would end hunger and insecurity.

While addressing the crowd of supporters who came from the six Southwest states, Atiku said Buhari must go, stressing: " Lie lie must go." He pledged to restructure the country, pay attention to education and revive the economy.

His words: "My fellow brothers and sisters from the Southwest, in the next two months, you will be required to make history in this country. Since the return of democracy in 1999, the best prosperity we have enjoyed in this country was under the PDP. The best peace we have enjoyed in this country was under the PDP. The best educational advancement that this part of this country enjoyed was under the PDP. Then, in 2015, some liars deceived you people, came here to deceive us and we believed them, we gave them the opportunity.

"They said they were going to create jobs. Instead of creating jobs, we have lost 12 million jobs since they came to power. They said they were going to create prosperity; since they came we have gotten poorer to the extent that today we have surpassed many countries in the world in poverty and now we are the headquarters of poverty in the world. Is that the type of government you want to continue with?

"My brothers and sisters, I stand before you here today to promise you that we shall return your prosperity and the prosperity of this country. Everybody knows that I chaired the best economic team in this country that produced those reserves. If you give me the opportunity again, I will assemble the best economic team so that we can return prosperity to our country.

"I also have come to you that this zone has been known for its educational strides since before independence; we shall continue to invest in education to make sure that this zone excels.

"Let me tell you, one of the most important policies I have advocated is the restructuring of this country. Today, I stand before you to pledge before you that within six months, we shall start the process of restructuring."

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who spoke in English and Yoruba, said the Buhari administration had failed to provide security and address hunger. He said Atiku can fix the economy and bring back the prosperity of Nigerians.

Atiku's running mate, Peter Obi, also chorused previous speakers' assertion that Atiku could create jobs, handle the economy and improve security of lives and property.

Former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose said PDP had already won the election, stressing that Nigerians only needed to protect their votes.

Former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel and Shuaib Oyedokun also addressed the crowd.

At the rally were the party's governorship candidate in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde; Senators Ben Murray Bruce, Senator Dino Melaye, Buruji Kashamu, Hosea Agboola and Ayo Adeseun.

Other chieftains of the party there were Chief Bisi Ilaka, Hazeem Gbolarunmi, Jimi Agbaje, Mrs. Mulikat Adeola-Akande and Dr Saka Balogun. The party's governorship candidate in Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, entertained the crowd with his dancing steps.

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