By Dennis Udoma, Uyo
Obong Nsima Ekere of Akwa Ibom, Senator John Owan-Eno, Cross River, Great Ovedje Ogburu, Delta and Chief Tonye Cole of Rivers States were among the four All Progressives governorship Candidates presented with flags on Friday as standard bearers of the party in next year’s general elections.
This was done amidst the mammoth crowd of supporters that thronged the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium for the presidential campaign rally with Muhammadu Buhari in attendance.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his remarks at the occasion said, he was impressed by the teeming support for the party by the people of the state, and commended them for working tirelessly to make APC an enviable movement in the South-South zone.
He warned politicians, who are hoping to steal money for the elections that, there would be no more hand-outs for them adding that, Nigeria would have to struggle in the years ahead.
According to him, ‘‘there are no more hand-outs; Nigeria will have to struggle for the years ahead” adding that, Nigeria would win the war against the Boko-Haram in the North-East, and pledged the resolve of his administration to improve on the economy and tackled unemployment as well.
He expressed happiness for the solidarity by Akwa Ibom members saying, “I am standing here to express my gratitude to you for organising this rally for the campaign against next year.
He recalled that, in 2015 APC based its campaigns fundamentally on three thematic areas of security, corruption and building the economy and challenged his critics to fault his administration’s commitment towards revamping the economy.
Mr President listed insecurity in the North-East as being won gradually in the sense that when he came, his administration met Boko- Haram holding sway in 17 Local Government Areas in Borno and Yobe states. Now, they are not physically holding any local government, but they have resorted to indoctrinating the young ones, especially girls to detonate bombs in Churches, mosques, market places and motor parks, assuring that government would decimate them completely in the country.
Director-General of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said, in the last three years, the Federal Government has been relatively very busy trying to deliver on its campaign promises to Nigerians hence, the reason for its silence working tirelessly to improve on the security, economy and fight against corruption.
He said, “When we came, things were extremely bad. The factors that we met in terms of economy led to economic recession. We didn’t have a choice but to fight that economic recession. World Bank said we would not come out of the recession till after three years, we came out of recession after ten months”.
Also speaking, the APC Chairman, South, Ntufam Hilliard Etta expressed optimism that, President Buhari would defeat the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar come 2019 elections describing Buhari as a lion.
He listed his achievements so far as revolutionary in the areas of agriculture, school feeding programme, construction of the Second Niger Bridge, Calabar-Itu road and increasing the salary of police personnel in the country.
APC national leader, Bola Tinubu said, Nigeria had made meaningful progress since the APC administration took over in 2015 because Nigerians were yearning for the party.
“We came in 2015 and we assured the nation that, Nigeria was yearning for change from ineptitude, corruption and laziness with great meaning to diversification and development of our economy assuring that, Mr President would be re-elected to continue with his good work and diversified the economy.”
Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of APC, Mr Ini Okopido, said, APC and the people of state were very happy that Akwa Ibom State was used for the symbolic take-off point for the presidential campaign.
The elated State Chairman stated, this has assured them and the South-South of significant placement in the national conscientiousness of APC, as his administration struggles to rid the country of cankerworms of corruption and the empowerment of the citizenry economically. He thanked the National Working Committee of the party for the confidence reposed in Akwa Ibom and the role they have been given to play as the party commences its tour to the next level.
“We want to fully assure you that, Akwa Ibom people love you and are pleased with the national appointment your administration has given to some of our men and women. Mr President, the generality of Akwa Ibom people are pleased with your magnanimity and style of governance.”
Senator Godswill Akpabio appreciated Mr President for choosing Akwa Ibom for the presidential campaign flag-off, noting that, the 2019 elections would be about integrity and not propaganda.
The APC standard bearer for Akwa Ibom, Obong Nsima Ekere who spoke on behalf of his counterparts, thanked Mr President for the opportunity given them to serve and pledged unalloyed loyalty to the party.