Ahead of the upcoming 2019 general elections, some support groups of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, have declared support for candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
At an elaborate event at Ajuji hotel, Gudu district of Abuja on Monday evening, the groups said their decision to dump Mr Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) was due to “marginalization and deliberate impoverishment”.
The press conference was addressed on behalf of the groups by Yusuf Ardo, the national coordinator of the Grassroots Mobilisers for Buhari (GMB).
Mr Ardo said the Grassroots Mobilisers for Buhari is a political pressure group that was registered in 2015 with the relevant government agency, with national, zonal, states, local government areas, wards and polling units leadership.
He claimed his group has over “5 million registered members” across Nigeria that mobilised Nigerians from all works of life through organisation of Town Hall meetings, community by community to sensitise people at the grassroots for the actualisation of Mr Buhari’s presidential aspiration in 2015.
“We toured the country and campaigned for the emergence of the current APC led federal government.
“This forum coordinated all support groups for APC and championed Grassroots Mobilizations of Nigerians.”
He attributed their decision to support Mr Abubakar to the “failure” of Mr Buhari.
“Sequel to the foregoing, we are sad, that the government we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people; we cannot continue to reinforce failures.”
Mr Ardo criticized the president for not having youth in his cabinet.
“How can we have a federal cabinet without a single youth?” he asked.
“A government that does not take the youths into account is a dying government; the future belongs to us, the young people.
“Today, our country is faced with legions of challenges, our economy that was the fastest-growing in Africa has gone comatose under the present government that has shown unprepared and completely clueless.
“Unemployment has risen to an alarming level, instead of creating three million jobs per year as promised during 2015 campaigns; millions of jobs are being lost quarterly, with many companies folding up,” he said.
He said he believed Nigeria’s economy under Mr Abubakar will be revived and returned to the path of progress that it was before the “misfortune” of President Buhari.
“We strongly believe that Atiku will ensure diversification of the economy through Agriculture, adequate supply of power, massive industrialization, thereby creating employment for our teaming youths.”
“Our predicament and future of the youth in Nigeria is highly threatened, that is why we have resolved one hundred percent (100%) to support His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, come 2019 for our large interest in this country.”
“We need Atiku’s helping hands to liberate our people from the present situation we have sadly found ourselves.”
Reacting to the development, Festus Keyamo, campaign spokesperson of the Buhari Campaign Organization said people were free to make their choices, adding that they also receive hundreds of decampees, daily.
“Every day we receive hundreds of people who dump the PDP and are willing to work for us.”
He however said he doubted if the groups are genuine supporters of President Buhari.
“I doubt if they are genuine Buhari supporters because the name does not ring a bell.”
He said many mercenaries were looking for their daily bread so he would not be surprised to see such development.