Iyiorcha Ayu, the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, stated that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the party’s nominee for president, would surprise Nigerians in the 2023 election by winning by a landslide margin of seven million votes.
He made this statement at a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall in Bauchi.
At a ceremony conducted the same day at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi, PDP presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar welcomed thousands of APC and other political party defectors.
Ifeanyi Okowa, Abubakar’s running mate, Iyiorcha Ayu, the National Chairman of the party, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto State, and former Vice President Namadi Sambo flanked Abubakar.
In attendance were the governors of Bauchi, Bala Mohammed; Adamawa, Umaru Fintiri; and Taraba, Darius Ishaku, as well as their deputies.
Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President, Sule Lamido, the former governors of Jigawa, Adamawa, and Gombe, as well as other dignitaries, were also there.
However, none of the governors or PDP leaders who support Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, were present at the event.
Speaking to the North-East stakeholders, Ayu said that the PDP does not want to be powerful on social media or based on staged images on television.
But he acknowledged that he was worried that no one would show up, leaving the rally’s site empty.
He said: “While we were coming here today, I was apprehensive that perhaps, when we come, the North-East will not come out. A political party is the people, it is not just the leaders, sometimes, we lay too much emphasis on the leaders.
“Today, we saw that PDP is the strongest party in Nigeria. Those who have been building imaginary rallies, today, it was not a rally, it was a reception but we saw the number of people that came out like bees. That is to tell you that the PDP is strong on the ground, we don’t want to be strong on social media, we don’t want to be strong only on manipulated images on television, we want to see the real people.
“And today, it was clear that PDP is a strong party. There are enemies of the party who are determined to cause division among us, who are telling lies about divisions in the PDP.
“I want to assure you that they will be disappointed because at the end of the day, this party will come up en masse and vote for all our candidates from bottom to top, not from top to bottom but from the bottom to the top – all our House and National Assembly candidates, all our governors will come back to office.
“And of course, having stayed out of power for eight years, the PDP is marching massively to Aso Villa with President Atiku Abubakar. He will resume back to the place where he has experience there as a Vice President and assisted ably, by Vice President Ifeanyi Okowa.
“In a Presidential election, if you don’t win Bauchi, you can’t win the presidency, and we are very sure that with what we saw today, the massive mobilization that has been done, that we are certainly on our way to victory.
“Atiku Abubakar is your son, the North-East has never had a President before and yet, when democracy started, the North-East led the way with Alhaji Tafawa Balewa. Power is returning to the northeast, vote for your son, come out en masse, it is not enough to come for the rally.
“All of you should have a PVC, make sure you campaign at your polling unit, don’t campaign only at rallies, we don’t want people in Abuja, everybody must go back home to his polling unit. On that day (election day), we will shock Nigerians, the victory margin is going to be seven million votes.
“Atiku Abubakar will move to the Villa and we will rescue the country, all the damages that the present government has done. We have suffered insecurity in the northeast, you are suffering from hunger, you are suffering from diseases. PDP under the leadership of President Atiku Abubakar will correct these ills.”