•Saraki urges security agencies to probe violence
Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, during his Kaduna campaign rally, pledged to restore peace to all parts of the country and revive manufacturing industries in the commercial city.
However, Atiku condemned the attack on his supporters during the Kaduna rally, which was the second after the flag-off in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. He described the attack as undemocratic.
At the same time, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, denounced the assault on PDP supporters and other Nigerians in Kaduna. Saraki asked the security agencies to probe the incident.
The PDP vice presidential candidate and governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, as well as Director General of the campaigns and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, said a vote for PDP at the presidential election was a vote to revive the dead textile industries in the state and create more employment opportunities in the country.
Atiku, who commended the Kaduna State electorate for massively voting for him in 2019, pleaded with them to do the same again next year. He said, “First of all, let me thank you for your support in 2019. Kaduna State gave me the highest number of votes in Nigeria. I have come here to pledge on behalf of the PDP that if you give us your votes, we will restore peace in Kaduna State.
“The security challenges will be addressed. We promise that we will reactivate the industries in Kaduna State in collaboration with the current private sector in Kaduna State, we will establish those factories.
“We promise you that the road linking Kaduna and Kano, linking Kaduna to Jos, linking Kaduna and Abuja, will be completed, by the grace of God. These are four undertakings that I am making on behalf of the PDP in your vote for PDP.”
Condemning the attack on PDP supporters during the rally in Kaduna, Atiku stated on his verified Facebook account, “I have just received emergency reports of attacks on PDP supporters by thugs sponsored to scuttle the on-going PDP campaign rally in Kaduna State.
“This is undemocratic and against the Peace Accord all parties signed up for just a few weeks ago. I urge President Muhammadu Buhari to call on all parties to call their supporters and members to order and to ensure that campaigns, just as with the elections themselves, are kept free, fair and safe.”
Tambuwal said, “When Atiku is elected, by the Grace of God, we shall bring back all the factories and manufacturing in Nigeria. Part of the agenda of the Atiku and PDP of retaking Nigeria is growing the economy and you can only grow the economy, when you grow the production sector and manufacturing.
“Atiku Abubakar’s administration will ensure that, by the grace of God, we will reinvigorate and re-establish our industries for economic growth and for jobs to be created for the people to have what to do.”
Equally condemning the attack in Kaduna, Tambuwal said it would not stop the presidential victory of PDP
Okowa said, “We are privileged today to have a presidential candidate, who believes in Nigeria. Among all the presidential candidates, he is a pan-Nigerian, who believes that both the north and the south must work together for the good of all of us and we thank God for the life of Atiku Abubakar.
“I am happy and privileged to be his vice presidential candidate, because I know that he has a solution to the problems that we have in Nigeria today.
“With Atiku Abubakar as president, we will not go back to our beds very hungry. We will not be poor, because he knows what to do to make us work and to enable each and every one of us have a place to work to earn money and that is what we need in Nigeria today.
“I bring you greetings from the south of the country. Those of us in the south, in the South-south, in the South-east, and the South-west, we are ready to vote for Atiku and the PDP. By the time the results come out in February, PDP will win in the South-south, win in the South-east and the PDP will win in the South-west.
“When we were going to Osun just three months ago, they were saying that PDP cannot do anything but when the results came out, PDP won Osun State. We won the state of the presidential candidate of the APC. That shows you how strong the PDP is.”
Saraki said the attack on rallying PDP supporters was a sad development mirroring a return to the dark days of politics in the country, which was widely believed to have become a thing of the past. He called on the security agencies to commence investigation to unveil the people, who perpetrated the violent acts, their sponsors, and their motives.
He said the attack on the Kaduna rally by some yet-to-be-named people was not just a threat to the country’s democracy but also an indication that some elements were still bent on sabotaging and undermining the success of next year’s general election.
A statement by Saraki’s media adviser, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, quoted him as saying, “This sad development is a big setback for our democracy. It represents a slap on the face of all Nigerians. It made a mess of all the efforts of the eminent men and women, who constitute the National Peace Committee, which just recently got all leading presidential candidates, their party chieftains, and spokesmen to sign an accord to promote peace and unity before, during, and after the elections.
“The security agencies must use this case to reassure the world that Nigeria will not return to the era of jungle politics or Hobbesian state. Both the sponsors and perpetrators of these criminal acts should be treated as top enemies of the state. They should be exposed and made to face the wrath of the law in such a manner that others who harbour this evil intent will take this case as a big deterrence.”
PDP condemned the attack, but said it was undeterred by the alleged plot of certain anti-democratic forces, who were uncomfortable and unhappy with the success of the on-going reconciliation efforts, stability and popularity of the party, to cause tension and disrupt the party’s programmes in Kaduna State.
A statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said, “Our party’s position is predicated on information at our disposal of how these anti-party elements, who are not happy with the campaign successes achieved by the national chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and other party leaders have concluded plots to orchestrate tension and create an impression of crisis within the PDP by recruiting thugs to protest and disrupt scheduled programmes of the PDP in Kaduna State.”