Saturday, 23rd September 2023

Given all indicators, Atiku will win the election, says Aniagwu

By Godwin Ijediogor, Asaba
15 February 2023   |   4:09 am
I am not too sure the G-5 is still afloat. Recently, you saw Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in Benue State where he went to take a chieftaincy title. I am sure you did not see three of the other governors- Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State...

Charles Aniagwu

Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation and Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, told
GODWIN IJEDIOGOR in Asaba, that Atiku Abubakar-Ifeanyi Okowa ticket is the most balanced, in terms of geo-politics, religion and experience of the ticket holders to win February 25 presidential election, among other issues.

Less than two weeks to the presidential election, the G-5 or Integrity Group, is still afloat. Does their support still count at this point?
I am not too sure the G-5 is still afloat. Recently, you saw Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in Benue State where he went to take a chieftaincy title. I am sure you did not see three of the other governors- Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. That tells you something.
You know, if it were before, you will see the five of them together, wearing asoebi and by now, they would have also travelled to the United Kingdom (UK). That’s not happening again and you can see that the other governors are not talking. In each of the places we have gone for campaigns, they have given us their support, even if they were not physically there.
For us, yes, we would want them to still come on board. Like I keep saying, it’s not only because we want their votes or support, but we are desirous of carrying every Nigerian along, including those in the opposition (APC). So, it’s not just about votes; the desire of Atiku-Okowa is to see that every Nigerian is brought on board. That’s why we believe, ‘as one, we can get it done.’ You cannot say so and begin to alienate people.
So, whether people support us within PDP or outside PDP or not, when we win, by the grace of God, we would carry everybody along; there won’t be any time for vendetta, and Akitu is not primed for that, neither is Okowa.

As the campaigns wind down, what are PDP’s chances?
Our chances are as bright as the northern star for so many reasons. One, we have the most balanced ticket, in terms of geo-political zones and religion, as well as experience of the ticket holders. There is no ticket as rich as theirs in this election.

The very poor performance of the Federal Government is a threat to the APC, even as it is a selling proposition to us. APC has brought untold hardship on Nigerians, whether it is fuel scarcity, confusion regarding the redesigned naira notes, insecurity across the country, the declining value of the naira/exchange rate, rising cost of living, poverty in the land, etc. Worse still is the mental state of the APC candidate, as we can see during their campaigns.
The Labour Party (LP) candidate, Mr Peter Obi doesn’t have as much baggage as that of the APC, yes, he has tried to paint himself as very clean, but we know that he is not what he is making people believe he is. But we don’t want to go into verifiable details of some of the things he did as governor, because he is really not a threat to us.
Given the pedigree of our candidate and the strength of the PDP in view of what we have done in the past, we are convinced that PDP would win the presidential election.

Despite Delta State government explanations and clarifications, the controversy about fresh loan refused to go, why?
It is not that it is going away! I will give you an analogy to understand what is actually at play. If you have a tree in front of your house and asks someone to sweep the compound every morning and so it becomes clean, but there is somebody on the tree, who instead of plucking the fruits, keeps shaking the tree for leaves to fall off. So, as soon as your child cleans the compound, it is messed up again, because somebody is on top shaking the tree to litter the compound.
So, this political period, no matter how much you explain or clarify, that explanation will not be taken by the opposition, because they don’t have any other thing with which to attack you. When they mention infrastructure, they know we will show them those on ground.  Initially, they were saying we didn’t do anything, but when we started showing them things on ground that we have done, it became very clear that they couldn’t take that route again.
So, each time you hear them talk about loan, loan and loan, it’s not because they don’t know the truth; it’s because they don’t have what else to hold on to for us not to smell so nice before the public and electorate. Unfortunately for them, the electorate know better and, so, nobody can deceive them or take them for granted. The electorate know those projects that have been delivered and we are also able to penetrate those who are not political about everything. Even they themselves know that what they are saying is not the truth.

One of them even told me, ah, if we no talk am, wetin we go talk again? So, it is understandable why they keep talking about loans even when there are no fresh loans.

And you don’t see it affecting the chances of your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the forthcoming elections, especially the governorship?
No, it’s not gaining ground; the people know that they are lying. Deltans are much more discerning than that; the people of the state know that they are lying. When they keep saying that we have gone to take loan, from which bank?
Even the funds they are talking about that we took last year was a bridging finance, because the Federal Government was owing the state and said it could not pay at once. And because the money would also lose value by the time they pay, the state government decided to take part of it to deliver a number of ongoing projects, rather than wait for the money to come in trickles, at times it will have lost some value and we will not be able to do something tangible with it.
So, the bridging finance was tied to a whole lot of legacy projects that were listed. Good enough, more than eight of those legacy projects have been delivered and commissioned, and we are happy we have been able to deliver them, while a few others are ongoing. Once they saw that we have started delivering those projects that have been giving us much more support than we ever enjoyed, they started looking for how to throw the mud.
But for us, we believe it is their democratic right; we only urge that people, especially politicians, should put the interest of the state first more than any other selfish interest. As it is at the moment, it doesn’t look like All Progressives Congress (APC) is thinking about the interest of the state; they are just looking for a way to grab power, like they did at the national level in 2015, and every Nigerian has seen the outcome of their greed for power.