2023: Our Restructuring’ll Be Inclusive, About States Development, Says Atiku


… As Ayu Insists On BVAs, Electronic Results Transmission

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has assured the people of Ondo state and the entire South-West region that his administration, if he is voted into office, will give premium to the issue of restructuring the country.

This is as the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia
Ayu strongly demanded for the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results during the forthcoming general elections in 2023.

Recall that on 23 November 2022, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu had declared that Nigeria is not ready to deploy BVAS and independent result viewing portal (IReV) for the 2023 elections.

Ayu and Atiku were speaking during the PDP presidential campaign train visit to Akure, Ondo state on Wednesday.

“My government, God willing, will push for the restructuring of the polity to achieve the following objectives: promote good governance, develop strategies that will enhance even development across the nation, which would ultimately benefit the people; maximise the potentials for job creation as well as expand opportunities and national harmony.

“Ondo State, as you are all aware, is the epicenter of Yoruba micro- nationalism. Like all the South Western States, it is desirous of development and not politics, as is encapsulated in the Southwest regional economic reintegration policy,” ex Vice President Atiku asserted.

He also observed that elites of the region believe in its prospects as a “regional bloc”, thus its hankering for “unique competencies of each State to uplift their competitive edges and promote a synergy that will lead to the creation of a more efficient economy in the Southwest.”

Going down memory lane, the PDP candidate recalled that the people of the region (comprising of Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Bendel states of yore), still remember the achievements recorded as a result of the partnership forged between them and the neighboring state of old Bendel state (now Delta and Edo states) between 1952 and 1959.

According to him, the cooperation back then, which was also replicated between 1979 and 1982, was a mutually beneficial one. This, he posited, is the reason why he is advocating for the “restructuring of the polity in a manner that accommodates regionalism… with focus on fiscal autonomy, review of State security architecture, inclusivity, justice, equity and level playing field.”

Offering to reconcile the party factions in Ondo state led by former Govenor Olusegun Mimiko and the gubernatorial aspirant Eyitayo Jegede, Atiku said he would appreciate it if Jegede “an Adamawa indigene like myself, having stayed in Adamawa for a long time and has a home in Dougerei, Yola, would parley with his rival and find ways of burying the hatchet in the interest of the party.”

On the conditions of federal and state roads in the area, the candidate pledged to rehabilitate the impassable federal roads traversing the State, which current deplorable conditions fuel insecurity and adversely affect commerce “as farm products like yams, tomatoes, pepper, cassava and others rot away due to the inability to transport them to the nearby markets in good time.

Making similar pledge to set aside $10 billion to address youth and women unemployment nationwide, Atiku who drew attention to the spates of killings and abduction spree of traditional rulers and opinion leaders, promised the people of the State that his administration will rejig the Nigerian security architecture to deal with current security challenges.

Turning to the cost of living and non payment of salaries in the state, Atiku undertake “to build a robust partnership with the private sector, including in the agricultural sector, to enhance economic activities nationwide to impact on people’s livelihood by ensuring new income generating streams that will better the people’s lives.”

In his remarks, the national chairman of the party, Prof. Iyorchia Ayu while congratulating the people of the state for electing a new governor, whom he wished would have been the PDP candidate, said that the election “provided another platform to test the credibility of BVAS and electronic transmission of results, thereby lending credence to the viability of new process.

“The issues of alleged vote buying during the elections were human factors, which the PDP will address in due course. But the process has been proven to be credible,” he said, alerting “Nigerians of a new narrative sung by the APC leadership that Nigerians are not ready for BVAS and electronic result transmission.”

“The use of BVAS and electronic transmission of results has been debated at the National Assembly and funds, in billions, have been released for its implementation. Furthermore, the system has been tried and tested in at least 3 States elections: How come the ruling party is just now, three months to national elections, telling us that we are not ready for the new process?

“As patriotic Nigerians and firm believers in democracy, we unanimously disagree with the APC and insist that we are ready and we want BVAS and electronic real time transmission of results.

“By this stand we are saying no to ballot box snatching, child voting and inflation of results,” he said.