With less than two years until the 2023 presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) turned the party’s 2021 elective National Convention into campaign territory on Saturday.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former President of the Senate Bukola Saraki, former Kano state governor Musa Rabiu Kwakwanso, Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed, and Sokoto state governor Aminu Tambuwal turned the convention venue into a carnival ground, displaying banners of various sizes for the presidential position.
The supporters who invaded the convention hall were dressed in bright colors and held posters of their favored presidential candidates for the 2023 race.
Kwankwaso supporters seized the show with their trademark red caps and white branded clothing, yelling “kwankwaso! Kwankwaso!!” from one location to the next in Eagle Square.
Supporters of former Vice President and PDP Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar were seen holding placards that read “2023 Atiku is the answer,” “I stand with Atiku,” and “2023 Support Atiku,” among other things.
Senator Bala Mohammed, the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and governor of Bauchi State, was also seen with posters and brochures for the Kauran Bauchi 2023.
His posters were also strewn throughout most of the convention’s stands in Eagle Square.
Similarly, 2023 posters and banners of the immediate past President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal are visible both within and outside Eagle Square, the venue of the PDP 2021 National Convention.
When Atiku was invited to the platform to deliver his remarks, the Eagle Square, the convention’s site, exploded in applause.
He took use of the opportunity to urge the PDP to save the country from “mismanagement, bad administration, insecurity, and divisiveness.”
He further said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has ruined Nigeria since assuming office in 2015.
The former Vice President said that the PDP must position itself to “rescue and restore the dignity, security, and economic progress of Nigeria,” saying that the “mission to save Nigeria is a collective thing.”
This is in light of his claim that the outcome of the party’s national elective convention would determine the country’s future.
While delivering his speech, Tambuwal remarked that keeping a great party like the PDP unified is difficult because “we are a big party with people from all across the nation and with varied interests and goals.”
“Diverse as we are, it is however clear to me that we are at our best when we remember that we must remain focused and disciplined for the sake of our country and for the benefit of our fellow Nigerians that are across the world.
“In Nigeria, it is tough to remain an item, focused and disciplined when being an opposition party. The temptation and allure of power can be overwhelming. Some have fallen along the way.”
He thanked those, who found the steps to remain focused and disciplined and do the hard work that opposition requires.
“Analysts and observers agreed that there are attempts to scuttle our activities as a party and as a people. They are people that are working to present us as weak and in disarray, but I am happy to report to the naysayers that PDP today is the strongest and formidable party in Nigeria,” he said.
He berated those trying to divide and weaken the party, adding, “I am happy to report to those who want to divide and weaken us that we are winning by the grace of God.”
Welcoming new comers, the Sokoto state governor and Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, was optimistic that more people will join the PDP.
He said: “Allow me to welcome new members of our party. They are here because they want to work for a better and most Nigeria. They are here because they have realised that the PDP is the best platform to move Nigeria forward, we say welcome and we encourage other patriots and concerned Nigerians to join us in the PDP.
“We will soon be welcoming more members to our party. Our country is going through trying time. Our people are in need of policy intervention and leaders that can provide solutions to the challenges of security, unemployment rising cost of energy, food and other essential items for living a descent life.
“We need a strong and smart Nigeria that can provide the leadership that will help sustain institution capable of promoting collaboration in the areas of security, innovation, trade, investment and defence of our democracy.
“Our young people need a secured safe and enabling country that will allow them realise their desires to be educated, employ and deploy their entrepreneurship skills. They need to take advantage of their potential to make the best of the best to fulfill their ambition.”