Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, said the Federal Government developed the nation’s economic nerve centre, Lagos.
The Adamawa-born politician and former vice president also said the All Progressives Congress (APC) lied that its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, built Lagos after the nation’s return to democracy in 1999, saying Tinubu did not carry out any developmental projects in the state as governor.
Atiku, who spoke at the PDP presidential rally at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos, warned the people against returning APC to power at the federal and state levels, saying “a single family has ruled the state for 23 years.”
Addressing a crowd of PDP supporters decked up in party paraphernalia, he said: “53 years ago when I came to Lagos in 1969, there was only one Carter Bridge built by the Europeans, no Second Mainland Bridge, no Third Mainland Bridge, no TBS.
“Now, I want to tell you, this is a fact, you can go and check, the Federal Government built the Second Mainland Bridge, rebuilt the Old Carter Bridge, built the Third Mainland Bridge, rebuilt Agege Motor Road, rebuilt Ikorodu Road, all the major roads connecting Island and Mainland.”
He said the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the APC governments in Lagos since 1999 lied about developing the state.
Atiku urged Lagosians to free themselves from the control of the Tinubu family by voting in the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos, Olajide Adediran, better known as Jandor.
Atiku also reiterated his stand on restructuring. He promised to restructure Nigeria and revamp its economy if voted into power.
He was at the rally with his running mate and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa; PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; Governors Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), among others.
Atiku also reiterated his stand on restructuring. He promised to restructure Nigeria and revamp its economy if voted into power in 2023. “On my own part, if you elect me as your president, by the grace of God, I’m going to set aside $10 billion so that we can empower our young men and women in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“People are asking me where are you going to get the $10 billion, if I privatise Port Harcourt Refinery, Warri Refinery and Kaduna Refinery, I’m going to get the money. So, let me also promise you that if you elect the PDP government, we are going to restructure this country. What do we mean by restructuring? We will give your states and local governments more powers and resources?
“It is up to you to hold them responsible, therefore, people of Lagos it is high time you took your rights in your own hands for your future not for the future of one family. In the last 23 years, you have been governed by one family. It is your right and duty to take over governance and handle it yourselves. That is what PDP is asking for,” he said.
The National Chairman of PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, said the party would liberate Lagos State, and that liberating the state is like liberating Nigeria.
Ayu said Atiku is an experienced man, who knows Lagos and is determined to lead the liberation of the state. “Lagos is going to be liberated because we are determined to rescue Lagos from the hands of those who do not want the progress of Lagos people and of Nigeria. Liberating Lagos is like liberating Nigeria because Lagos is an important part of the country.
“Lagos is the biggest city in the country with a population of about 25 million people, which is more than most other African countries and other countries in the world, and yet it is a very rich state. Today, we have brought you hope, we have brought you a man who is experienced, who knows Lagos, who knows Nigeria and who is leading the crusade to rescue Lagos, abolish poverty and create jobs.
“Atiku is going to make sure that you are not overtaxed. Most of you are running small businesses, and your businesses are not thriving because you are not given the right atmosphere. Every day, you have about 200 taxes imposed on you. People of Lagos you need to be free from multiple taxations that are going on in Lagos and making you more impoverished,” he said.
On his part, the chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Udom Emmanuel said Nigerian economy was better under the PDP. In those days, the economy of Lagos was more buoyant than the economy of so many West African countries put together, but today all the factories and companies in Lagos have left the state.
Emmanuel said: “In those days of PDP from 1999 when you enter Lagos you would see trains everywhere working and that shows that the economy was working. I’m telling Lagosians that Lagos is where money is made, Abuja is where money is shared and South-South is where money is produced, so under PDP, we will restore the economy of Nigeria.
“All those factories that have left Lagos today, they will all come back. Under the Atiku Abubakar administration, the economy of Lagos will bounce back and everything will come back to life.
The Guardian reports that former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, was conspicuously absent at the rally.
George is a strong member of the PDP Integrity Group, which also has five governors of the party known as G5 as members. One of whom is Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who also shunned the rally in Lagos, South West.
The group led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is demanding the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu as a condition to work for Atiku.
Similarly, the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, among other leaders of the Integrity Group, were absent.
However, Atiku and his entourage rode triumphantly into the Tafawa Balewa Square, venue of the rally, in a motorcade.