IN what may be described as taking the battle to the doorsteps of its main opponent, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last Saturday, held its North-West zonal rally in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state.
•PDP supporters at the Katsina Rally
The rally, which appeared to be a good outing, was the first time the main opposition PDP was making an appearance in Katsina after the 2015 general elections that brought the All Progressive Congress, APC, to power in the state and at the centre.
At the rally, the PDP to received a host of defectors from the APC, People’s Democratic Movement, PDM, and All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA among others.
Prominent among the personalities who left their parties for the PDP included PDM 2015 Governorship candidate, Senator Yakubu Lado; his APGA counterpart, Umar Abdullahi Tata; former APC Treasurer in Katsina State, Nasiru Kankia; former Katsina State House of Assembly Speaker, Kabir Kurfa; and former Coordinator of Youth Vanguard for Aminu Bello Masari movement in 2015, Mustapha Radda among others and thousands of their supporters. The event, which lasted for several hours grounded activities in the state capital as PDP faithful thronged the party’s secretariat and venue of the rally.
Some analysts said the massive turn out was a shocker to the ruling APC in the state particularly as it exposed some lapses of the government and initiated a slogan “ Akori Yunwa” meaning “Chase away hunger.”
Before the rally, the APC had declared the PDP dead and buried in the state, claiming that PDP big shots had deserted the party and defected to the APC.
The outing signaled that the ruling party may have a lot of work ahead if it wants to remain in power beyond 2019 with the PDP boasting at the event that it will win and unseat the APC in Katsina and the country at large. Responding on behalf of other defectors, Senator Yakubu Lado asked the PDP National Chairman to sleep with his two eyes closed because it will reclaim the state from the APC in 2019.
PDP stalwarts in attendance included former Governors, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (Kaduna State), and Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto State), and serving PDP Governors in attendance included Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom) and Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe State).
There were also Walid Jibrin (BOT Chairman), Sen. Umar Ibrahim Tsauri (National Secretary), Amb Ibrahim Kazaure (Northwest Zonal Chairman), Ambassador Aminu Wali, former Minister Buhari Bala, former Minister Kabir Tanimu Turaki, and Felix Ayat to mention among others.
•PDP leaders at the rally in Katsina
Secondus: We’ll unseat the APC in 2019
PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, boasted that his party will wrestle power from the APC in 2019 because the ruling party has collapsed, lacks leadership, and has brought crises, division, hunger, and poverty to the country.
Promising that the PDP will reverse the trend, bring unity, love, and put food on the tables of Nigerians if elected.
“APC came with crises, division, and hunger. APC has collapsed and has no leadership. PDP will win in 2019. We will defeat APC in Katsina. Katsina is the home state of PDP,” Secondus boasted.
PDP is alive — Shekarau
Former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekaru said that the colourful outing shows that the PDP is alive and very much on the ground in the state and country at large. Shekarau called on the people to translate their support to votes in the forthcoming election. He urged them to keep their voter’s card safe and use it judiciously to elect leaders of their choice.
Those leaving PDP to APC, others are bad eggs — Makarfi
Former Governor of Kaduna State and former Interim Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said those defecting from the party to other parties were bad eggs while those remaining in the PDP are its true sons.
Nigeria will be in deeper trouble if Buhari returns — Lamido
Former Governor of Jigawa State and Presidential aspirant, Alhaji Sule Lamido warned Nigerians not to make the mistake of re-electing President Buhari in 2019 to save the country from sliding into more troubles.
Lamido said the country, currently, is at a standstill and nothing is working except bloodbath and insecurity.
Lamido, who went down memory lane, said that when Buhari first came into power in 1983, he closed down the Ajaokuta steel company and the steel rolling mill in Katsina State.
Nigeria’ll burst if APC wins in 2019 — Babangida Aliyu
Former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, said Nigeria will burst if the APC wins the forthcoming elections and stressed the need for Nigerians to vote out the APC in 2019.
Fight hunger, not corruption — Fayose tells Buhari
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Chairman, PDP Governors Forum, told President Buhari to stop the fight against corruption and provide food for Nigerians saying hunger is killing people of the country. “I represent the masses in Nigeria. People are afraid, to tell the truth. And the truth is hunger is killing our people. Buhari should stop talking about corruption and talk about food, food, and food. People are poorer than when the man came,” Fayose said. Urging the people of Katsina to vote President Buhari out of power because he has nothing to offer and has not done anything to impact on their lives even in the state.
Shema tackles Masari on fraud allegations
The immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, who appeared in public gathering after a very long time used the avenue to clear the air on allegations of misappropriation of public funds levelled against him by the Governor Aminu Bello Masari-led administration.
Shema also debunked allegations that he left the state in debts and challenged the government to publish bank documents showing that his administration sought loans from foreign and local sources.
His words: “We left N14.5billion in the coffers of the state. We challenge them to publish a report that we solicited for loans from foreign and local sources throughout our tenure in office. We gave your children free education, paid their WAEC and NECO fees. We built Government House and stadium of world standard and they were challenging and faulting us. Are all these wastes?
“Whoever says he is going to continue to witch hunt us, we leave them with God. To fight corruption is necessary for Nigeria but it must be fought with a clear objective, fairness, and equity.”