2023: Atiku Promises to End ASUU Strikes, Benue Killings

Atiku (right) with his running mate, Okowa.

By Amos Aar

THE presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has promised that if elected come February 2023 general elections, he will fund education adequately, pay workers including lecturers as and when due so that lecturers will no longer go on strike. Atiku pledged among other promises during his presidential campaign rally held in Makurdi Monday.

He said he owns a private university which has never gone on strike for one day and he will do same for the entire country if elected president. “Let me reassure you, that the closure of our universities because of payment of salaries to members of staff is not forthcoming will be a thing of the past. I have a private university and we have not gone on strike for one day. So, if a private university cannot go on strike for one day, why should the public universities go on strike?” Atiku asked, as he also promised to provide employment for youths and women, revive the railway system that passes through Benue to Southern Nigeria and fix infrastructural deficits among others.

On the killings that have been on in the last eight years, Atiku specifically sympathised with families that lost their members in the last 7-8 years in Benue State. “We want to extend our condolences and sympathise with the families and loved ones who have lost their lives in the last 7-8 years in Benue State.

“As Zege Mule U Tiv (the big shield of the Tiv nation), I’m the umbrella of Tiv people. I promise you, if you elect me as president, just as I did in 2001 when I came to Benue, I made the Fulanis to sign a peace accord with their brothers, Tivs. I will come to make sure peace returns to Benue State. Benue State is the Food Basket of the Nation but today, farmers cannot go to farm because of insecurity. I will make sure security returns to Benue State.

“I also promise you that by the grace of God, the issue of unemployment for our young men and women will be a thing of the past. That is why in my policy document, I said we are going to allocate $10 USD to empower our young men and women with enterprises.

“Between 1999, we brought prosperity, we brought jobs, we brought peace to this country. We have the experience to repeat those things again.

“Let me assure you, that the infrastructural deficit in this state in terms of connectivity with other neighbouring states will be a thing of the past because we are going to make sure, that you vote for development of both roads and railway to make sure our transportation is once again working. Railways have been the gate between the far North and the South and that is why we have a railway passing through Benue to South. But today, that line is not working again. I promise you, that if you elect the PDP government, we shall revive the railway lines”, Atiku promised.

In his speech, PDP national chairman, Sen. Dr Iorchia Ayu, who canvassed votes for all candidates of the party said, the PDP was divided.

He however agreed that few members of the PDP including Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State were aggrieved but he was making efforts to reconcile with them, adding that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP had no plans to suspend Ortom as it was being speculated in some quarters.

“Vote for every PDP candidate, the party is not divided. There are few of our members who have grievances and we are talking to them. We want to make sure they come back and work with us fully. One week is enough to change everything.

“I’m appealing to my younger brother, Governor Ortom to come back and join us so that we will fight to rescue Nigeria. There’s no better party, Ortom has nowhere to go, his only house is the PDP and anytime he comes, we will be happy to receive him and all PDP Governors”.

Ayu presented PDP flag to the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Benue State, Mr Titus Uba, who received the national chairman and assured him of victory in Benue State.

In a good will message on behalf of his National Assembly (NASS) colleagues from Benue zones B and C, the senator representing Benue North East, Gabriel Suswam, said Atiku had shown in the past that he is a friend of Benue people and therefore, they will show him gratitude on February 25, 2023 by voting for him overwhelmingly.

“He stood for us and he will still stand for us”, Suswam stressed.

Again, Governor Samuel Ortom was not in the state to welcome the PDP presidential candidate and that was the third time Atiku had visited Benue State for campaign rallies without Ortom’s presence to receive him.

Atiku Abubakar who was accompanied by his wife, Titi, his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, and many other dignitaries, had on arrival, paid homage to the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, HRM Prof. James Ayatse and his Idoma counterpart, HRM John Elaigwu, before he proceeded to Aper Aku stadium, Makurdi to address Benue people where the campaign rally was held.


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