Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has assured that the nightmare of Ajaokuta Steel Company will be addressed if he emerges President in the forthcoming February 25 election.
He also assured that the Inland Port in the State will be developed to help the inland water transportation system in the North and Nigeria as a whole.
Atiku, who stated these during the PDP presidential campaign rally in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, on Saturday, said, “I am very happy with the people of Kogi state for this show of support, 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 issue of Northern Nigeria, because through the development of the port in Kogi, we also will 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 program.”
The former 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 civil servant is owned salaries.
He added, “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 ten billion US dollars to empower our young men and women so that they can live comfortable live.”
He further said University closures will be a thing of the past, adding that students will no longer be out of school for eight months under his watch.
“If you look at Kogi State itself, since PDP stopped governing Kogi State, no development has taken place in this State, everything in Kogi was built by PDP,” Atiku stated.
He added that the APC came and deceived the Kogi people to vote for them, adding that they have now seen that APC meant “poverty, unemployment, insecurity, lack of development and every negative indices in human development.”
He continued, “We appeal to you, 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 PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, urged the people to support PDP, adding that Nigerians have suffered enough under the APC-led administration.
Ayu said, “Kogi has never disappointed me, they gave me their best, I am asking you for 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 fedaral 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 that the people of Kogi State and many parts of Nigeria have experienced.
“You have suffered poverty. When people was in power you know how much rice was sold, today you know how much a bag of rice is almost N50,000. You don’t have fertilizer 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 of poverty capital of the world. That is why having experienced the poor governance of our country.
“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 in 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 of what we are capable of doing. I want everyone of you to get his PVC, because without your PVC this journey will not be possible. Vote for all our candidates when the time comes and we are going to take back government house Lokoja.
“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 todat to welcome back home some of our members who made 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 business man like Atiku that we 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 center 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.”
For his part, director-general of the PDP presidential campaign council and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said: “Kogi is unique in many sense, Kogi is the gate way to the South West from Northern Nigeria, Kogi is also the gateway to the South East and South South. Kogi is also the confluence of both river Niger and river Benue.
“It is in Kogi that we have the biggest and largest of the 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, 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 it,” he said.
Also, speaking earlier, the director-general of Kogi State PDP campaign council and former deputy governor of the State, Arch. Yomi Awoniyi, appreciated the support received from party members and supporters, who didn’t relent in showing their support for the party and its presidential candidate.
He attested to the fact that the crowd present at the venue of the presidential campaign rally was a testament to the fact that PDP in Kogi State was fully ready to deliver all its candidates during the forthcoming February 25 elections.
While speaking on behalf of the three senatorial candidates of the party, the PDP candidate for Kogi Central, Bar. Natasha Akpoti-Uduhagan, appealed to the Atiku to ensure that the Ajaokuta Steel Company was revived so as to enable Kogi State generate more revenue and employments for its people.
Apart from the over 100,000 new members that defected to the PDP, prominent APC leaders in the State also dumped the ruling party for the PDP at the campaign rally.
National chairman of the party, Ayu, commended the efforts of PDP leaders in the State for bringing the high profile politicians to the party and he assured them of deserving recognition and reward.
Prominent among the defectors to PDP included a former deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba; a former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Umar Alfa Imam, and chairman, Kogi Elders Advisory Council, Alhaji Yahaya Karaku.