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2023: I’ll be Stepping Stone For Igbo President – Atiku

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar yesterday described himself as the “stepping stone” for the Southeast to produce a President.

Atiku premised this on his relationship with the Igbo, including his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi.
“I am the stepping stone for an Igbo to become President of Nigeria,” he told Southeast PDP stakeholders in Enugu, Enugu State
“I’ve had a close relationship with the Igbo and this influenced my choices of Senator Ben Obi and Mr. Peter Obi as my running mates in my two previous outings as a presidential candidate. Again, I have chosen another great Igbo here (Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa) for the third time as my running mate,”, he pointed out.

To further buttress his association with the Igbo, he said: “I have three children with Igbo blood flowing in them. I am saying this for the very first time in public. So, my relationship with Ndigbo did not start today.”
Atiku, a former vice president, vowed to prioritise developmental projects in the Southeast and other geo-political zones in the country if elected as Muhammadu Buhari’s successor next year.
He took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration for allegedly segregating some parts of the country with a 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 will use the bridge”. Atiku said.
The presidential hopeful also spoke briefly on his friction with former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he served as his second in command and the security challenges facing the country.

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He also expressed concern over sit-at-home in the Southeast which he said had dealt a big blow to the economy of the zone and called on Igbo elders to speak out against it.
Atiku said that his first agenda was to “Restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, social justice, and cooperation”.
“I will also establish a strong and effective government that guarantees the safety and security of life and property.
“My administration will build a strong, resilient, and prosperous economy that creates jobs and lifts people out of poverty, “.he said.
He promised to promote true federalism that will allow the federating units to set their own priorities.
“I had a disagreement with my former boss (Obasanjo) because of state police and true federalism. But, we will ensure we will use state police to end the insecurity ravaging all parts of the country,” the PDP standard bearer promised.

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Atiku’s running mate Okowa lamented that Nigeria had never been more polarised and disunited as it is under the APC leadership.
Okowa, who is currently the governor of Delta State, said that the only solution to the current problems facing the country was for an experienced politician like Atiku to become its president.
He called on Igbo leaders to be bold in tackling the challenges facing the Southeast, saying they had been too cold.

Senator Chimaraoke Nnamani was absent from the meeting which had Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and a former Presidential aspirant, Anyim Pius Anyim in attendance.
Nnamani’s name featured on the list of APC’s Presidential Council.
Prominent PDP stakeholders at the Enugu meeting were the new BOT Chairman, Adolphus Wabara; National Secretary Samuel Anyanwu; former governors Jim Nwobodo(old Anambra State); Achike Udenwa(Imo); Okwesilieze Nwodo(Enugu), Emeka Ihedioha(Imo), Sam Egwu(Ebonyi)’
and Theodore Orji(Abia).

Others include Abia State Deputy Governor Ude Okechukwu, who represented Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’; former Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metu; former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Chairman, Onyema Ugochukwu; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; Senator Uche Ekwunife; Senator Obinna Ogba and former Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka.

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