Four months after launching the presidential campaign of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Jos, the Plateau State capital, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday returned to the rostrum as he stormed Yola, the Adamawa State capital, to canvass for votes for the party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other candidates of the party ahead of the February and March, 2023 election.
Adamawa was last week listed by the APC Presidential Campaign Council as one of the 10 states where Buhari would openly campaign for Tinubu before the February 25 presidential poll.
The president also used the campaign held at the Muhammadu Buhari Square in Yola, to advise the people of the state to make history by voting Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed-Binani as the first female governor in Nigeria during the governorship election in March 2023.
Buhari, while thanking members of the APC in the state for their unflinching support to him since 2015, also advised them to remain committed to the party and support its candidates at all levels during the February and March, 2023 polls.
He specifically told the crowd that Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima could be trusted to deliver at all times.
“I wish specially to thank you for reposing your trust in me and giving me your support during the last two presidential elections.
“I want you to continue with this spirit and remain loyal to our party the APC. I want you to support our candidates at all levels in the state and federal elections. You can trust Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu, our party’s flag-bearer and presidential candidate, together with his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
“I want you to vote for them massively, retain the party in power at the centre, and also return Adamawa to the rank of the progressives.
“I want you to wholeheartedly embrace the message of ‘Renewed Hope’ on which our candidates and party are campaigning,’’ the president said.
“I am delighted to be here today in Yola, Adamawa State, to be part of the campaign of our candidates for different offices in the country, starting from presidential, to gubernatorial, national and state assemblies. It is APC from top to bottom.
“APC for president! APC for Governor! APC for Senate! APC for House of Representatives! APC for Assembly members!’’ the president noted.
Buhari urged the electorate to vote for Tinubu and Shettima, as well as the other APC candidates for Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly.
He also called on Adamawa voters to shun sentiments, and make history by electing the first female governor in the country in 2023 in the person of Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed-Binani, saying her track record of dedication to duty and service would improve the livelihood of citizens.
The president told the voters that Binani had consistently worked for the welfare of the state over many years, adding that entrusting her with the office of the governor would further strengthen her to reposition the state for greatness.
He said: “Let me remind you of the good fortune that is awaiting your state in 2023, after returning the APC to power at the federal level and electing the party’s candidate as your incoming governor.
“You have been given the opportunity to set a record in the history of Nigeria and the annals of democracy and politics in our country by electing the first ever female chief executive of a state in Nigeria. You cannot afford that such a significant opportunity would slip through your fingers.
“I am, therefore, calling on all the men, women and youth of Adamawa State, the northeast and indeed the entire country, to support the candidature of Senator Aisha Binani and ensure her victory in March 2023″.
Buhari said the APC had a vision of making Adamawa State more peaceful, progressive and prosperous.
“Your contributions in Adamawa State to our national development can be attested to by your output in agriculture, fishery, livestock, industry, manufacturing, commerce, mining, among others.
“Your achievements in the areas of education have made us proud and given us immense joy and satisfaction. Adamawa people are progressive in nature, and it is time to prove it once again.
“Our vision for Adamawa as a peaceful, progressive and prosperous state is strong and enduring. With your perseverance and determination, the APC will make Adamawa a model state in all areas of endeavour,’’ he stated.
The president urged youths in the state and the country to pursue values that would bring honour to their families and the country, advising that Nigeria’s image could only be improved by the citizens.
“Let me now speak to the youths of our country, and Adamawa State particularly. I want you to know that you mean so much to us. Please, remain loyal and patriotic citizens, learn from your elders and behave responsibly at all times.
“There can be no other place better than this country that promises so much to us and beckons us to greater prosperity.
“I want you to remain true to our ideals of decency, respect and accountability. You should bear your responsibilities seriously and acquit yourself well in all that you are called on to do.
“You should all come out and vote in the forthcoming elections, exercise your franchise responsibly and do not allow yourselves to be misled by vain sentiments and idle promises.
“Let me remind you and the entire people of Nigeria that the eyes of the world will be on you come February and March, 2023. Therefore, do not give in to temptation and allow yourselves to be manipulated,’’ he added.
The president advised the youths to remain loyal to the APC by sensitising voters on the gains of the party, urging them to vote for its candidates at various levels.
Earlier in his remarks, the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, called on voters to elect Tinubu for president and Senator Binani for Governor of Adamawa State.
Adamu told the large gathering of party supporters that both candidates had been tested with responsibilities at various levels of governance, and would work together for the benefit of the people.
Also speaking, Tinubu thanked the president for leading the country with integrity, and setting new standards in development projects.
According to him: “Nigeria is blessed. We have integrity in President Buhari. Whatever damage the Poverty Development Party, PDP, has done, we will replace it with joy, prosperity, happiness and employment for our people.
“We will get you engaged properly. We will pay attention to your needs. Vote Binani for governor of the state, and when we are elected, we will work together to provide good water, education, health and end killings and kidnapping,” he said.
Tinubu said if elected as president, he would revive the education sector, improve health care delivery and security.
He said he would also eradicate poverty, create employment and enable environment for businesses to thrive.
On her part, Binani pleaded with the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, APC stalwart, Nuhu Ribadu and a member of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, to join hands with her in ensuring success at the polls, and lifting the state to greater heights.
A former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, also urged the electorate to vote for Tinubu for president, and Binani for governor of the state, noting that Tinubu and Shettima had already set precedence of good leadership as former governors.
He said Binani would build on past achievements in the state, and correct anomalies in leadership and development, especially in placing the welfare of the people first and ensuring inclusive governance.
PDP Mocks Ex-Lagos Governor
However, the campaign rally had barely ended when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mocked Tinubu, following what it described as President Buhari’s obvious snub during the APC campaign in Adamawa.
A statement signed by the Spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja yesterday, said it was clear that Buhari avoided the booby trap of identifying with Tinubu when the president declined to speak directly in his favour by commending him for anything during the rally.
He said: “The public watched as a visibly embarrassed Asiwaju Tinubu had to put up with President Buhari merely raising his hand without speaking on his (Tinubu’s) personality despite the pressure being mounted on him (Buhari).
“It is clear that President Buhari attended the APC presidential rally, after much prodding, only to satisfy partisan exigencies and not to campaign for Asiwaju Tinubu, who is badgered by allegations for which most well-meaning Nigerians have distanced themselves from his Presidential bid.
“Our campaign is therefore not surprised that President Buhari avoided the booby trap of smearing his image by refusing to campaign for Asiwaju Tinubu at the rally.
“It was indeed a pitiable sight to behold as Asiwaju Tinubu watched Mr. President’s mouth, expecting him to campaign for him and speak words of commendation on his personality, which to his embarrassment, never came.
“Even when President Buhari, who was about to leave the campaign stage, was reminded by the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to address the gathering in Hausa language, Mr. President merely described him (Tinubu) as being nominated by the Party and failed to campaign for him.
“Nigerians can recall that our campaign had earlier cautioned Asiwaju Tinubu that dragging President Buhari into his campaign cannot help him given that his image had gone beyond redemption.
“The APC presidential candidate should face his political woes and not attempt to transfer the burden and smear of his alleged narcotic-related offence and countless allegations of corruption and sundry misdemeanors on the president.“
He further said, “Asiwaju Tinubu should stop wasting his time. He should yield to the consensus by Nigerians to vote in a more acceptable, capable and experienced candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to rescue, rebuild and redirect our nation at this critical time.”