Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar yesterday received his certificate of return as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, urging the party to bear in mind that there was much work to be done before victory.
He spoke as the National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu called for a united party, describing the outcome of the special national presidential convention as a family affair where there was no victor and no vanquished.
According to Atiku who spoke on his victory at the convention, “we should not take that or their defeat for granted. We must unite and work extremely hard for every single vote in this country. There is so much to do. And there is very little time to waste. So let’s get to work.”
Atiku who called for unity in the PDP further said, “Let us all remember that what just happened is a contest within a family to decide how to put our best foot forward. The main contest is the one to win the presidency of our country for our party.
“It will require the entire PDP family and other supporters and sympathisers. We must pull everyone together. Nobody should be excluded; I beg of you”.
The former vice president said he had already visited some of those who contested against him, “as a way to lead in that effort to unify the party so that we can face our real opponents, defeat them in the elections and begin the process of rescuing and rebuilding this country from the calours and dangerous All Progressives Congress (APC) misrule over the past seven years which is there for everyone to see.”
He further said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this Certificate of Return having emerged as our party’s candidate in our just concluded special convention. This victory is a victory for all of us, for our party, and for the vast majority of Nigerians suffering under the misrule of the APC. It was a collective effort, and I’m very grateful for everybody’s contributions.”
Expressing his gratitude, Atiku said, “I am particularly grateful that you kept your word and gave us contestants fair treatment, despite what might have been a difficult situation.
“Your integrity and even handedness must be commended. I commend our party’s National Executive Committee for putting our party and our country first in its deliberations and decision-making process.
“I thank all those who assisted my campaign in a variety of ways to enable me to crisscross this vast country and make my case for our delegates and other party elders and members.
“To all those who volunteer their time to help with organising the convention, as well as the security personnel and agencies who ensured that the event was successful, I say thank you very much indeed.
“I also thank my family, for putting up with my demands and the disruption this quest to serve obviously brought about.”
He also commended the NWC for transforming the party secretariat.
“So let me commend the National Working Committee for transforming this place into a decent and beautiful place. This is a clear evidence that, if we have a new PDP government, we will transform this country,” he added.
In his speech, the PDP chairman said that the event was not a celebration of victory.
“Rather within the PDP family, we had a minor contest, a small contest within the family. There were no victors, there were no vanquishes, the party won. It is the party that won. Atiku Abubakar is not yet victorious. He has only been produced as our candidate, the candidate of the whole party.
“As we marched forward, we need all of you because each one of you had a supporter and all of you plus all your supporters, we want you all to fuse together into one happy political family. It is this family that will face the battle ahead.
“We have only started a journey. We shall end this journey sometime next year. By the first of June next year, we should take over power from colourless and clueless government that has totally destroyed this country.
“All of you are aware of what has happened to our country in the last seven years. I don’t need to repeat issues of insecurity, total destruction of the economy, total disunity of the country. We have never been as divided as we are today as a country. Families are divided, communities are divided against each other.
“There is no trust among ourselves. The president that is coming in is tested and trusted. He will lead us to reunite the country. He will lead us to rebuild the economy. He will lead us to get rid of bandits and terrorists. He will re-enforce the armed forces.
“He will give us respect in the international community. Today we are a pariah state but in the next 12 months, the whole world will begin to respect Nigeria all over again.
“I urge all of you to come together. It doesn’t matter which candidate you supported, come together and support the party, support our efforts, support our candidates, the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I want to assure you that we in the National Working Committee will continue to work tirelessly because you didn’t elect to us to organise a successful convention, you elected us to win the presidency for you.”
Speaking further, he said: “You elected us to give you more governors, you elected us to take control of the two houses of the National Assembly. You elected us to win all the Houses of Assembly across the states and we will continue to do just that by working with you, by calling on many of you to come and help us execute these objectives because we can’t do it alone. “
He said that the occasion is to appreciate members of the party for a job well done
Present at the occasion were Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; former Delta State Governor, James Ibori;
Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and some of the presidential aspirants , including, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Bukola Saraki, Sam Ohuabunwa and the only female presidential aspirant, Olivia Terila Diana among others
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike yesterday visited the PDP presidential candidate at his Asokoro residence. The visit was barely 24 hours that Atiku visited Wike in company of some PDP officials.
Atiku who confirmed Wike’s visit in his verified tweeter handle wrote: “It was a pleasure to receive His Excellency Nyesom Wike in the company of notable leaders and officials of our great party, the PDP at my residence today.
“I am proud of the promises that this spirit of camaraderie holds for our party as a united front that guarantees victory in the next election to rescue the country.”
Wike was absent at the PDP secretariat when the Certificate of return was handed over to Atiku by the Ayu-led NWC.
Culled from THISDAY