2023: Atiku visits Southeast, promises Igbo presidency, restructuring

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…to tackle insecurity, infrastructural decay

Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that Igbos can only become president after he must have completed his tenure.

Atiku also vowed to prioritise developmental projects in Southeast and other regions when elected, saying that any project in any State is a favour to Nigeria.

The former Vice President also promised to tackle insecurity across the country, infrastructural decay and of course work with the lawmakers to restructure the country.

Atiku, who was addressing Southeast PDP stakeholders in Enugu on Tuesday in company of his running mate, Gov. Ifeayin Okowa of Delta State, said: “I am the stepping stone for Igbos to become President of Nigeria”.

The PDP candidate, who maintained that he would win the 2023 presidential polls, said his great relationship with the Igbos would continue until they assume the presidency after his tenure.

“I’ve had close relationship with the Igbos and this influenced my choices of Senator Ben Obi and Mr. Peter Obi as my running mates in my two previous outings as presidential candidate. Again, I have chosen another great Igbo here (Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa) for the third time as my running mate.

“I have three Igbo children and I am saying this for the very first time in public. So, my relationship with Ndigbo did not start today,” Atiku said.

While promising to prioritise projects in Southeast, Atiku took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress(APC)-led administration for segregating some parts of the country with the paucity of projects.

“The second Niger bridge in Onitsha is not a favour to the Southeast, rather it is or should be seen as a favour to Nigeria. This is because it is not only the people of the Southeast that use the bridge,” Atiku said.

He also expressed concern over the ongoing sit-at-home in the region which he said had dealt a big blow to the economy of the region and the country at large, calling on elders in the region to speak out against it.

He said his administration would pay close attention to tackling insecurity, economic and other challenges bedevilling the country.

Meanwhile, the governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu was conspicuously absent during the visit of Atiku to the Southeast.

Ikpeazu was conspicuously missing as the presidential candidate met with other candidates of the party in the region.

The meeting, which commenced around 1.30pm, was attended by the newly appointed chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Adolphus Wabara; national secretary of the party, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; governorship candidates of the party in Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi States and some senatorial and House of representatives candidates.

Ikpeazu, who is a staunch ally of the Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, was believed to have been absent from the meeting following the unresolved issues trailing the presidential primary election of the party.

Wike’s allies, who have been sympathetic to his cause, had vowed not to be part of the Presidential Campaign Council set up by Atiku.

Gov Nyesom Wike and his allies had insisted that the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorcha Ayu must step down or else they won’t have anything to do with the presidential aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar because the presidential candidate and the national chair of the party can not come from the same geopolitical zone.

Additionally, they said Ayu had equally promised to resign from office if the party’s presidential candidate eventually emerged from the the same geo-political zone.