In this interview with Phrank Shaiub, the senior special assistant on public communications to PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, speaks on the forthcoming presidential poll and the chances of his principal in the February, 2023 election.
How has it been on the field campaigning for PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar?
Thank you very much. By the nature of campaigns, it can be gruelling. You must understand the peculiarities of all the states or electoral constituencies that you are visiting and you must be able to connect with their agitations.
With particular reference to the Atiku Abubakar ‘Recover Nigeria’ campaign rallies, the challenges are even bigger than a normal campaign rally. Because there are so much divisive agitations in almost every part of the country, we decided that we must hold meetings with stakeholders in each of the states that we visit.
During those meetings, we made commitments to the people that if and when the PDP is elected in the elections next year, we will approach the issue of national unity with primal attention.
Look, unity is critical to the core business of governance. If you cannot maintain unity even at the family level, it will be difficult and even impossible to build anything. That is why, when you go through the Atiku policy document, entitled : My Covenant with Nigeria, unity is the first thing that you will find in the document.
In his family for example, he has children who are half-Yoruba, half-Igbo and Fulani. And they have continued to live together in peace.
Being able to maintain diversity should be a major task that will face the next president of this country and Atiku Abubakar is more qualified than other contestants in this race in that area.
Your candidate has cut a name of the Unifier for himself in this campaign, but many still wonder why he hasn’t been able to unify your party after a long time. Will you want to thrown some light in that concern?
Like I said before, that you need peace to be able to build structures for sustainable development. The fact that there is peace, even in a family system, doesn’t mean that there are not disagreements. There are no divisions in the PDP. There may be some areas of disagreements but that does not mean that there isn’t unity in the party. I think what is more important is how we manage disagreements and make sure that those disagreements do not lead to outright conflict. And I am sure you will agree with me that there is no conflict in the PDP.
Your main opponent in the election and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said recently that he would defeat Atiku and other contestants silly in the election. What is your reaction to that?
Well, I know from experience that every election is a game of chance. But apart from that, I think that the issues about the next election are not issues of who can beat who silly. And I also think that the facts about this election are clear to all Nigerians.
This election is going to be a referendum about the performance of the APC in the past seven years and more. Interestingly enough, the candidate of the APC in the election is also the national leader of the party and he must be bold enough to address the media on the performance of his party.
Elections are not won by wishful thinking. You must be able to face the public and let them see why they should deliver their ballot in your box on the day of election.
So far, I have not seen the APC candidate do that, and I must say that it is bemusing how he hopes to win in an election where you hold the people in contempt.
Do you believe your candidate will win the election?
It is an election and whoever wins, of course, is the candidate that has the simple majority of the votes. What you can ask me is, do I believe that Atiku Abubakar has consulted with the people enough in order for him to win the election? In that case, I will say, Yes.
Look at it, as we speak, we rounded off our campaign with the Katsina State rally on Tuesday and that brings to 15, the number of states, including the FCT that the PDP has covered. Let me ask, which other political party has done that much? In all the states that we have visited so far, I am sure you should have observed the high turn out of people at our rallies. Let me ask again, which other party has been so accepted in the manner of the PDP?
Again, you look at the policy documents of all the political parties and you let me know which party has solutions to all the issues confronting the country today better than the PDP?
Also, look at all the candidates and tell me who comes close in terms h experience and capacity iku ossesspo
arethe factors that determine who wins in an election. The PDP remains the leading contender in this election and that is why the other contestants are apprehensive.
Do you trust on the resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a free and fair election?
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