Exactly a month after the All Progressives Congress, APC flagged off its presidential campaigns with a national rally in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP held its state rally in Uyo, last Monday using the intimidating crowd to put up a show of force.
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
THE PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s visit to Uyo has come and gone but people and commentators are still talking about they describe as ‘’show of people’s power’’ that accompanied the rally.
Held at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, the rally attracted an unprecedented crowd of party supporters mobilized from the 31 local councils of the state.
Although the event was expectedly to start by 2:00 pm, party supporters cutting across men, women and youth groups were already seated at 10:00 am. And by 11:00 am, the 30,000 capacity stadium was already filled to the brim while more party supporters continued thronging into the venue.
However, political analysts were quick to conclude that the large crowd was not unexpected given the popularity and wide level of acceptance of the PDP in the state.
It was indeed the argument of some that the large crowd signposted the continued dominance of the PDP in the state, despite the recent defection of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill to the APC.
Besides, they said the outcome flowed from the perception that the PDP is the only party in the state that has embarked on rigorous campaign tours to the nooks and crannies of the state since the campaigns started.
For many in the state who had the opportunity of following other presidential campaign rallies across the country, the PDP rally in Akwa Ibom could pass for the most spectacular.
Joy overwhelmed the presidential campaign team when they saw the mammoth crowd in jubilant mood awaiting their arrival at the venue, despite the two-hour delay in take-off.
As the rally took off, speaker after speaker boasted that the crowd attested to the fact that Akwa Ibom State is predominantly a PDP state contrary to insinuations and claims by the opposition that it is now in control of the state.
While addressing the rally, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus expressed strong conviction that Akwa Ibom would vote massively for the PDP in all positions in the forthcoming elections.
“Even those in Abuja can see that Akwa Ibom people have spoken. We can see this crowd today is more than their crowd, is it not so? This is original because it is only Akwa Ibom people that are here. We can confirm to Alhaji Atiku that Akwa Ibom will vote him 100 percent. On February 16, 2019, you will come out without fear, and stand by your polling booths and vote for your president and all PDP National Assembly candidates.
“Let me tell you, no one can play God, and nobody is God. Anyone that wants to play in this country, if we flash our mind back to the history of our country when you get to the point where you try to play God, God will bring you down
“I want to warn those of our friends who are from this state who believe that here in Akwa Ibom state elections can be rigged if you rig the election in Akwa Ibom state you rig your head.”
Secondus moved on to urge the people not to vote for the APC which according to him has brought much hunger in the land, adding that all actions of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC are threats to the existence of Nigeria’s democracy.’’
He further advised them to stand with Governor Udom Emmanuel describing him as an “intelligent, hard working, resourceful, energetic, innovative, and a world-class investment governor,” investing in the lives of the people.
Similarly, the PDP Governorship Candidate, Governor Emmanuel, said that the presidential rally was not to campaign but to affirm their fate in the presidential candidate.
“Today we are showing Nigeria that Akwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is Akwa Ibom. They didn’t charter aircraft to bring people to this rally. This is not entire southern rally or entire Nigerian rally; it is Akwa Ibom rally for the presidential candidate.
“He is coming here so that we can reaffirm our fate that Akwa Ibom has fate in him (Atiku). So today we tell him to carry go. I stand here to tell Nigerians that the only candidate today in Nigeria among all presidential candidates who has an economic blueprint for the future of this country, who will build the future for the youths economically, who will build the future for human capacity development is no other person than our presidential candidate, former Vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar.
“We have a presidential candidate who understands the economy of Nigeria inside out, who has worked in business circles, experience and who will give Nigeria development, dividends of democracy and good governance. He has promised to make Nigeria work again.”
Akwa Ibom State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, assured Atiku Abubakar that the state would give him and other candidates of the party 100 percent votes because there is no other party aside the PDP as evidenced in the mammoth crowd that graced his presidential rally in the state.
“We are people based at home, we are people who produce results, and who will give you votes that will see you to the presidency come May 2019. We have campaigned in all the nooks and crannies of this state, the 329 wards, and we have announced that our target is 5/5”
Among those who accompanied Atiku to the Akwa Ibom rally were former governor of Anambra state, and Vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and his wife, Margaret and some members of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC.
It will be seen if the PDP’s show of force will translate to votes for PDP candidates on February 16 and March 2.