President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday flagged off his presidential campaign with an assurance to Nigerians that they would not regret voting the All Progressives Congress (APC) back to power in the 2019 general elections.
Addressing a mammoth crowd at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, Buhari challenged other presidential candidates to counter the APC’s scorecard in security, the fight against corruption and revamping the economy.
Noting that four years ago he promised to get rid of terrorists who were holding a number of local government areas hostage in the North east, he said today, all of the areas have been freed.
The president pointed out that his administration has regained food security and the country no longer imports rice, even as he urged Nigerians to work hard and earn a living because there are no more freebies under the APC government.
On corruption, he said, “We have said those who are corrupt will be investigated and prosecuted. We have recovered cash, properties and with Treasury Single Account (TSA), monies can now be traced”.
Urging Nigerians to vote the APC, President Buhari said, “No Nigerian will regret voting for us”.
On his part, national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole noted that in the coming elections, one of the issues that would take precedence is character of the candidates.
He said, “My task today is simple. We have a president who can go to America, not those who can’t go to America. We are honoured that you are flagging off your campaign in the South South.
“I noticed that in the last 48 hours they were trying to look for mud to throw at the president. The world knows who the president is and we all know what they are. Nigerians should take note.
“The PDP candidate has already put in notice that he is going to sell the NNPC. We in the South South will not support any candidate that will sell the NNPC”.
Oshiomhole also presented the APC flag to the gubernatorial candidates of Akwa Ibom, Nsima Ekere; Cross River, Senator John Eno; Delta, Great Ogboru and Rivers, Tonye Cole.
Responding on behalf of the candidates, Ekere promised to work for the success of the party in the coming elections, both for the presidential and gubernatorial polls.
In his remarks, Minister for Transportation and director general of the Buhari Campaign Council, Rotimi Ameachi, said Nigerians did not hear from him for a long time because he had been busy in the last four years.
Amaechi stated: “Four years ago, we were running around; we promised three things: economy, security and fight against corruption.
“Anybody who said we promised to make one naira to one dollar or that we promised to reduce the price of fuel must be a magician. We are not voodoo economists.”
The minister noted that the Buhari administration never knew the PDP had stolen all the money in the treasury until they came on board.
“We thought they had conscience. Even as ministers, we felt the pang of changes. When we came, things were bad. The factors we met made us slip into recession. We promised to fight corruption.”
He appealed to Nigerians to give the APC another chance to complete the assignment given to them, saying “we will create employment; I urge you to come out enmasse to vote for APC and Buhari.
The national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, said the flag off of the campaign was successful judging by the mammoth crowd that graced the event.
He also knocked the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for criticising the 2019 budget proposal, describing his response as shallow and full of contradictions.
While stating why the president is seeking reelection, Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for Buhari for the sake of this country.
He said, “As the largest producer of oil, we will continue to support you to develop your infrastructure. We are strongly determined to change the course and redirect the vessel of this country. This is what Buhari and the APC are all about.
“Vote for your future and not for corruption. For 16 years they had you in darkness. If they had concentrated on electricity alone, there would have been development. They say they want to come back. No backwardness for Nigeria, for Akwa Ibom. We will rely on you to develop our country and continue to fight corruption. Victor Attah and Akpabio came and developed the state but since Udom came in, happiness has frozen”.
On his part, Senator Godswill Akpabio said, “Uyo is the capital of APC in the South South. The 2019 general election is about integrity versus others.”
Noting that President Buhari has put his thumbprint on all projects and initiated new ones, he advised the PDP to surrender before the elections.