The campaign trail of Atiku Abubakar was in Akwa Ibom on Monday to campaign for votes.
Mr Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while addressing the crowd at the 30,000-capacity Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, promised that the federal government would set up an oil refinery in the state if he is voted into power.
Akwa Ibom, though a major oil-producing state in Nigeria, has not been fortunate to have a refinery sited in the state.
The federal government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has four refineries – two in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, one in Warri, Delta State, and one in Kaduna State.
Interestingly, none of the four refineries worked up to 50 per cent of their capacity at any time as of 2017.
“The refinery is going to come,” Mr Abubakar said from the stage where he stood to address the crowd at the Uyo rally. “Therefore, the people of Akwa Ibom I appeal to you to vote PDP.”
Mr Abubakar is a former vice president of Nigeria.
On stage with him at the rally were his running mate, Peter Obi, the national chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, and the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel.
Mr Abubakar pointed to a young man “Udim” on the stage, whom he said is his personal photographer.
“You see, I am from Adamawa State, I don’t discriminate, I don’t care where you come from,” he said about the photographer, apparently to emphasise that he meant it when he said he would build a refinery in Akwa Ibom if elected president.
The PDP candidate reiterated his support for the restructuring of Nigeria, saying Akwa Ibom would be prosperous if the nation is restructured.
“Don’t you want prosperity? Don’t you want more jobs? Don’t you want more security? Don’t you want more education?” he said, as the crowd kept cheering him on.
“I love you all, I swear to God,” he added.
Earlier on, the PDP national chairman, Mr Secondus, cautioned the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Akwa Ibom against any attempt to rig election in the state.
“Akwa Ibom is PDP, PDP is Akwa Ibom,” he said.
“I want to warn those our friends who are from this state and who believe that elections in this state could be rigged. If you rig elections in Akwa Ibom, you rig your head,” Mr Secondus said.
The PDP chairman accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of intimidating the National Assembly and the judiciary.
“Our dear country is in distress and the whole world is aware. The economy has collapsed. People are being killed every day.
“Buhari and APC are dangerous to democracy and the existence of this country. Don’t vote for them. This country must be liberated.”
Mr Secondus described Governor Emmanuel as a wonderful and miraculous governor. He asked the people of Akwa Ibom to re-elect him as governor.
“God has given you the most intelligent, the most hardworking, the most energetic, the most innovative and a world-class investment banker,” Mr Secondus said of Governor Emmanuel.
Before the rally, the PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, commissioned a greenhouse farm in Uyo, built by the Akwa Ibom government.
He praised Governor Emmanuel for investing in agriculture.
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