By Stanley Onyekwere & Usman Shuaibu
The Peoples Democratic Party in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday stormed the Gwagwalada and Kuje Area Council, to solicit votes for its party flag-bearers in the forthcoming general elections, even as it tasked residents on the collection of their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs).
The campaign train that kicked off from Old Parade Ground in Area 10, Garki I District, Abuja, last Saturday, had moved to Abaji, Kwali, before storming Gwagwalada and Kuje, the Headquarters of the Kuje Area Council.
At the rally, the PDP vowed that it will capture the six Area Councils in the territory including Gwagwalada Area Council, one of the strongholds of the opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC), since the return of democratic rule in 1999.
Addressing a mammoth crowd in Gwagwalada, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed noted the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan in the territory, and assured party’s supporters that more will be achieved if given the mandate for a second term.
The FCT Minister, who took time out to showcase the numerous achievements of President Jonathan’s administration in the area of agriculture, infrastructural development, railway, satellite towns’ development, and resettlement policy of indigenous people of FCT, also dared the opposition to fault those claims by the PDP.
“We are here in Gwagwalada to engage the opposition on issue based campaign, and not canvassing for votes on religious and ethnic sentiments.
“Gwagwalada Area Council has been dominated by the opposition but there is nothing to show for it except the roads constructed by Federal Government and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); we challenge them to show us what they have done with their allocations,” the minister stressed.
Mohammed therefore called on the residents not to cast their votes on the basis of religion or ethnicity, stressing that a Christian from another region appointed him as FCT Minister.
“You know my political history of how I became FCT minister, President Goodluck Jonathan did not know me from anywhere; we are not from the same region or religious background, and we did not even belong to the same political party, but he appointed me as minister irrespective of our differences.
“That is what democracy entails and that is the kind of leadership we need in Nigeria; we don’t need a leader that we divide Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines,” he avowed.
In the same vein, while in Kuje, the FCT Minister called on registered voters to collect their PVCs as it’s the only basis to exercise their civic responsibility, pointing out that Kuje has been the home base of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Come February 14, residents of Kuje will come out massively to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan; just as they will also vote massively for Senator Philip Aduda, Hon. Zephaniah Jisalo and Hon. Danladi Zhin for Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“You have done it before and I trust you will do it again. The mammoth crowd we have here today is a clear testimony of your support,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, he advised the PDP flag bearers that if voted into the corridors of power during the February polls, they should not hesitate to carry the electorates along in the scheme of things.
The minister, however, pleaded with the FCT residents to conduct them peacefully during and after the elections.
On his part, a PDP stalwart and the former FCT secretary of the party, Mr. John Bako, assured all the party’s candidates that it will continue to dominate the Federal Capital Territory, even as he promised that the party will surpass previous elections.
“We are calling on our numerous supporters to come and vote. We have no doubt that the party will come out victorious in all the six Area Councils of the territory.
“We have a record of success in previous elections and we are going to improve on the success even in areas where the opposition is thriving; our candidates will soon sing victorious songs,” Bako expressed.
Also speaking at the occasion, the senator representing the FCT, Hon. Philips Tanimu Aduda, urged the electorates to vote for all the PDP flag bearers during the elections.
In their separate responses, the PDP House of Representatives flag bearer for Abuja South Constituency, Hon. Danladi Etsu Zhin and a member of the House of Representatives representing Abuja Municipal Area Council and Bwari Constituency, Hon. Zarphaniah Jisalo, who is also the PDP flag bearer in the area, called for the support of the electorates in the forthcoming elections.
Similarly, the Gwagwalada coordinator of the president Goodluck Jonathan campaign, Hon. Adamu Mustapha and the chairman of Kuje Area Council, Hon. Ishaku Shaban Tete, promised to deliver the PDP in their respective area councils.
Not left out, the wife of the FCT Minister, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed, admonished youths to shun any act of violence and vote for President Jonathan as well as other candidates of the PDP down to the members of the National Assembly.
She noted that President Jonathan has been able to practicalise his Transformation Agenda in the FCT, insisting “one good term, deserves another.”
Peoples Daily reports that the grand finale cum North Central zonal rally where all the PDP Governors/National Assembly/States Houses of Assembly in the zone including the Senate President, Senator David Mark are expected to attend the rally scheduled for today (Friday), in Bwari, the headquarters of Bwari area council.