The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential flag bearer and former vice president, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, made a stopover in Lokoja, Kogi State, ahead of next month’s election. JAMES AZANIA was on the trail.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has part of his campaign trail stopped in the Kogi State capital, Lokoja, to win more Nigerian to his side ahead of the crucial 2019 general election.

He said that he would redirect the country towards infrastructural development, create jobs and ensure a robust economy.

He centered the plank of his appeal to the people of the state on the perceived impoverishment of Nigerians under the watch of the President Muhammad Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC).

He promised to complete all abandoned projects in the state, if elected. The former vice president gave the pledge at the flag off of his presidential campaign in Kogi State.

He said: “The legacy of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Geregu power plants 1 and 2… are PDP projects and we will make it a matter of priority to complete all projects that have been abandoned in the last three and half years. It is on record that Nigerians have not benefited from the government of President Buhari and his party, the All progressives Congress. Myself and my running mate, Peter Obi have the blueprint of how to halt the suffering inflicted on Nigerians by Buhari and his co travellers in APC.

Atiku assured that the moribund Ajaokuta Steel which was stop in 1983 during military regime of President Muhammad Buhari will be revived if given the made to govern the country.

He said the alarming unemployment, non-payment of salary and palpable infrastructural decay in Kogi State, and Nigeria at large will be a thing of the past.

The PDP candidate said: “I have been an active player in the Nigeria economy. I have created multiple employment opportunities for hundreds of Nigerians in my private capacity. Revival of this bleeding economy and true federalism through restructuring would be my cardinal objectives.”

Atiku, it would appear, is not taking Kogi, which is an APC governed state, for granted, and pundits remain of the opinion that he is angling to cash in on the perceived disaffection in the ruling party.

He promised to complete all abandoned Federal Government projects in Kogi State, if elected president, come February.

Pojects to be completed according to the presidential hopeful, include the multi billion naira Ajaokuta Steel Company and river ports in Lokoja and Idah.

He recalled that both the Ajokuta Steel complex and the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja as well as many other projects in Kogi were legacies of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He said that he will address the alarming unemployment situation in Nigeria and convert the abundant natural resources in Kogi to execute projects that will be beneficial to all.

Kogi, he said, will be the Number One beneficiary of his proposed restructuring of Nigeria, if elected.

He uged Kogi people not to be deceived by the ruling All Progressive Congress, which he described as fake and “failed administration since it can’t pay salaries and pensions let alone execution of projects.”

He also promised to correct the “mistakes of the PDP when it ruled the country for 16 years.”

He condemned the unlawful detention of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), and called for his immediate release by the police.

The Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation and Senate President, Bukola Saraki called on the people to ensure victory for his principal, in order to put an end to the myriad of problems bedeviling the state through anti people programmes of the ruling APC.

Saraki urged the people of Kogi to end “APC’s autocratic” system of government by voting massively for PDP candidates in this year’s election.

He added: “The last three years of APC have been hell for the people of Kogi and the entire country as a whole. A president who does not know what is going on around him is not my president, my president knows what he is doing, my president reads, my president knows how to create job and he has been doing so for years and will create jobs for our teaming youths.”

Saraki said Kogi and Kwara, where he was once governor, shared everything in common, and must work together for the common goal of ensuring victory for Atiku. The Director-General called on the well-meaning people of Kogi to speak with one voice to ensure the release of Melaye. He called for the people of Kogi to vote massively for a president who knows what he is doing and well-schooled in the art of governance.

He said: “My own president knows what’s happening around him, my own president reads, my own president is healthy, my own president knows how to create jobs and has been doing that for years, so let’s give him chance to prove his worth to us.”

The PDP called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye. The lawmaker is reportedly currently being held at the police clinic in Abuja, after the siege on his Abuja residence, over charges bothering on alleged shooting of a police officer detailed to arrest him at his Ayeitoro-Gbede country home last year.

Amidst shouts of “holy ghost fire,” speakers called on the police to release the senator and allow him continue his work.