Our plan for Niger Delta, by APC candidate Buhari

Buhari in Ijaw Dress
Before a huge crowd of cheering residents of Bayelsa – President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state – All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, vowed to tackle environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region.

Gen. Buhari, who was decked out in Ijaw dress, with a hat and staff to match, said his presidency would embark on thorough cleaning and remediation of degraded Niger Delta environment, according to the recommended standard of the United Nations (UN).

The APC presidential candidate spoke yesterday at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, Yenagoa.

He earlier visited Ogoni land in Rivers State where he also promised to implement the United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) report.

He was given a sword and the UNEP report by Ogoni leaders including Senator Magnus Abe.

Gen. Buhari arrived at the stadium in company of some party bigwigs to meet a huge crowd of party faithful and other residents, especially youths, waiting for him.

He stormed the stadium with his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, his campaign Director and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, former Governor of Bayelsa State and the state’s leader of APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, among others.

In a show of solidarity and hunger for change, the crowd waved brooms, the symbol of the APC, and waved their hands as they cheered Gen. Buhari and his entourage.

The presidential candidate observed that the region and the state had been neglected for a long time with their means of livelihood which he identified as farming and fishing, deprived them.

He blamed the plight of the people on years of oil exploration and exploitation and lack of will by the government to enforce adequate cleaning and remediation of environment polluted by oil.

He said his administration would ensure that the environment is restored to enable the people go back to their means of sustenance.

According to him, his manifesto includes a robust plan to revive the agricultural sector and reduce Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil.

Explaining that oil is limited, Gen. Buhari identified the state as having huge potential for rice farming and aquaculture adding that everybody will be empowered through training and skill acquisition.

The presidential candidate promised to ensure stable electricity supply to enable people expand their businesses.

Gen. Buhari, who asked the people not to allow PDP to stay one more day in office, observed that many factories had closed and left the country because of the ruling party’s inability to find solutions to power problems.

He sympathised with the people for relying on generators to sustain their businesses, saying the APC government will fix the problem.

Gen. Buhari reiterated his commitment to zero-tolerance for corruption, adding that anybody who steals government money in his government will be forced to return it.

He, however, urged the people to obtain their Permanent Voters card and ensure they vote for APC.

“I am grateful to Bayelsa and I promise you that we will administer a corruption-free administration. Anybody who steals government money will be made to return it,” he said.

Sylva, who was warmly received by the crowd, asked the people to cast their votes without tribal sentiment. “A bad brother is not as good as good friend,” he said.

The former government in his first public outing since he was denied reelection by the PDP, urged the people to vote out the PDP.

He said: “Bayelsa, you are known to lead the way against oppression, against ineptitude. Today, we must take that leadership. Let us, as Bayelsa people, lead the rest of Nigeria to vote out the PDP.

“Today, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is here in person and I want to assure you that I have gone to the east of this country, I have gone to the west. I have gone to the south and north of this country and I bring you good news.  One assurance is that Gen. Buhari has won already”.

The governor whose speech was interrupted by applauses from the crowd, asked the people to join the winning train.

He said: “Go and tell your sisters at home. Go to the creeks of the state. In less than six weeks, we will have the opportunity of exercising our fundamental human rights of voting. That opportunity we must use wisely.

“This time, you will use your hands to vote APC and Gen. Buhari into office and welcome prosperity into your home. You will welcome good governance into Nigeria once again.”

Amaechi said the next election would be based on merit and challenged President Jonathan to show his scorecard in the region and the state.

He said the Niger Delta, after years of clamouring for resource control, got an opportunity to control the entire country through the election of President Jonathan.

He, however, regretted that Jonathan, who was also a product of the struggle has only succeeded in rewarding the region with poverty, hunger and lack of development.

He said: “They said President Jonathan refused to develop Rivers State because he is quarreling with me. Why has he refused to develop Bayelsa or is he also quarreling with Governor Dickson? What has Bayelsa people benefited from this government? Nothing.”

Amaechi said instead of the resources going to public cause they were being diverted into private pockets observing that only few people from the state were enriching themselves through the Presidency.

But he said: “But our President, Gen. Buhari, has promised to give you your resources back.”

Odigie- Oyegun who was overwhelmed by the crowd that trooped out to identify with APC in President Jonathan’s state, said the PDP ruined the country in 16 years.

He said: “Why do we want change? After 15 years of PDP, the engine of PDP moto has knocked. The tyres of the motor have flattened. Do you want to enter a motor without engine and tyres?

The crowd roared in negative as he outlined the plans of the APC in power, education, job creation and other sectors.

The chairman presented flags to APC’s senatorial candidates for Bayelsa East (Chief Timpre Sylva); West (Eddy Julius) and Central (Preye Aganaba). The party received a former majority leader in the House of Assembly, Mr. Oguma David who defected from the PDP to APC.

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