Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has assured that the nightmare of the Kogi-based Ajaokuta Steel Company will be addressed and an inland port will be developed in the state to help the water transportation system in the northern part of Nigeria and the country as a whole if he emerges president in the February 25 election.
Atiku, who stated these during the PDP presidential campaign rally in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, on Saturday, said: “I am very happy with the people of Kogi State for this show of support, this show of love. Most of the challenges have been enumerated by previous speakers; one of them is the issue of Ajaokuta. I want to confirm here that if you give us your support and elect a PDP government, the nightmare of Ajaokuta will be a thing of the past. I assure you this, and it is a promise I have made on behalf of PDP.
“I also want to promise you that the issue of your inland port is not only a Kogi issue, but an issue of Northern Nigeria, because through the development of the port in Kogi, we will also have access to the maritime transportation in this country, so it is not a Kogi matter, it is our matter for the entire north of the country. I promise you we will implement that programme.”
The former Nigerian vice president also said there will be no more salary arrears in Kogi State because his administration will support the state to make sure no government worker is owed salaries.
“From what I have seen from Obajana up to Lokoja, it is thousands of young men and women, we will give you jobs, if we don’t give you jobs, we will give you business to do, I promise to set aside $10 billion to empower our young men and women so that they can live comfortable lives,” he added.
Atiku further said that incessant strikes in tertiary institutions will be a thing of the past if he becomes president, adding that students will no longer be out of school for eight months under his watch, as was the case in 2022 when students remained at home for close to a year due to a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
“If you look at Kogi State itself, since the PDP stopped governing Kogi State, no development has taken place in this state; everything in Kogi was built by the PDP,” Atiku stated.
He added that the APC came and deceived Kogi residents into voting for them, adding that they have now seen that the APC stands for “poverty, unemployment, insecurity, lack of development, and every negative index in human development.”
“We appeal to you,” continued Atiku. “We are here not to deceive you; we are men and women of integrity. If you want your next state government to benefit you, vote PDP in the presidential election. You will see that by the time we come to conduct the governorship election, we will take over Kogi State and make sure that we deliver good governance.”
On his part, the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, urged the people to support the party, adding that Nigerians have suffered enough under the APC-led federal government.
Ayu said: “Kogi has never disappointed me, they gave me their best. I am asking you one more time to also give me your best. I have enjoyed what you always give me. This time I am asking you to give me the best president of the Federal Republic. Nigerians, including the best people of Kogi State, have suffered enough. The last seven years have been hell on earth; you have suffered insecurity; most of you cannot sleep with your eyes closed.
“You have suffered poverty. When the PDP was in power, you knew how much rice was sold; today, you know that a bag of rice costs almost N50,000. You don’t have fertiliser to farm; your farms have been taken over by bandits. We cannot continue to live in a country of hunger; we cannot continue to live in a country that is the poverty capital of the world. That is why, having experienced the poor governance of our country, the PDP is coming back.
“PDP will be back to improve everything that we started. Not many people know that we have spent trillions in Ajakuta on the importation of iron and steel products, yet we have the capacity to export all these to the world. When PDP takes over, you will see exactly what we are capable of doing. I want everyone of you to get his PVC, because without it, this journey will not be possible. Vote for all of our candidates when the time comes for us to retake the Lokoja government house.
“For now, it is important to vote for an experienced leader, somebody who has toured this country around, and that person is Atiku Abubakar. I am happy to welcome back home some of our members who made a mistake and went to the other side.”
Also speaking, chairman of the PDP presidential campaign council and Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, said: “Kogi State is one of the richest states in this country in terms of solid minerals. The only problem is that we need a businessman like Atiku so that we can give you policies that will encourage people all over the world to come and exploit, extract, and bring wealth to Kogi.
“The only person that will do that for you is Atiku Abubakar. I am sure many of you are not happy with the federal road network in the state because this is the centre of Nigeria, but with Atiku, he will link Kogi state with other parts of Nigeria. Because of the central nature of Kogi state, he has promised that he will concentrate on major road networks, and if we have infrastructure, it will be easy to develop Kogi more than this.”
Aminu Tambuwal, the director-general of the PDP presidential campaign council and the governor of Sokoto State, said: “Kogi is unique in many ways; Kogi is the gateway to the South West from Northern Nigeria; Kogi is also the gateway to the South East and South South. Kogi is also the meeting point of the Niger and Benue rivers.
“It is in Kogi that we have the biggest and largest steel company in Nigeria, the Ajaokuta Steel Complex. It is in Kogi that we also have the Obajana, Dangote’s main plant. Kogi is unique in its mineral deposits. You have all it takes, you have the minerals, you have the people, you have the land, and you have the water. What we lack is leadership, and that is what we lack in Nigeria today.
“Atiku Abubakar, of all the leading presidential candidates, is the most preferred and the most prepared, and for you, the people of Kogi, he is the most business friendly.
“He will come and complete not only the Ajaokuta in its true sense but ensure that many factories and industries come up in Kogi by providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, for jobs to be created, for employment to be created, and for the economy of Kogi state to be rejuvenated.
“It is only Atiku that can pilot the affairs of Nigeria, come May 2023, for all of theses to be achieved in Kogi, for security to be reestablished in Kogi, and for Nigeria to be repositioned for restructuring, for full recovery in every sense of the word,” he said.
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