The battle for the Office of President, Federal Republic of Nigeria began in earnest on Tuesday as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), kicked off his presidential campaign in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with the declaration that insecurity, poor economy and corruption, which he identified as the three cardinal problems currently facing the country, would be tackled headlong, should he win the February 14, 2015 election.
Buhari, who addressed a mammoth crowd that thronged the official inauguration of his presidential campaign, explained that the level of corruption in the country was intolerable.
He assured that the APC had gathered competent hands that would manage the economy should he emerge the president of Nigeria.
The former Head of State urged Nigerians, who have attained the age of 18 and above, to get their permanent voter cards, mobilise themselves and ensure that the end justified the means.
“Let us make sure that our votes count. The problem we are facing today is the problem of security and economy. We have gathered competent hands to manage the economy and tackle insecurity.
“The level of corruption in Nigeria is intolerable and we will make sure we succeed in fighting corruption when we get there. I wish Nigerians the best of luck and we believe in one indivisible Nigeria.
“I appeal to you to mobilise yourselves to ensure that the end justifies the means. I also urge you to collect your PVC to enable you to vote in order to bring in the change we have been talking about”, Buhari said.
He congratulated the host governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for his ability to mobilise the people of the state and Nigerians for the task ahead, describing him as the right choice for the position of the Director General of his campaign organisation.
“We congratulate the Governor of Rivers State profusely for being the Director General of the presidential campaign organisation. I thank you very much for accepting the responsibility to work with our great party.
“Amaechi has made enormous sacrifice. He earned it, he worked for it and I thank him for accepting it. He got it through a lot of hard work. The way Amaechi mobilises people shows that he is the right choice”, he said.
Ealier, Amaechi, who explained that he never knew that he would be the governor of the state, claimed that a group of persons had collected money to remove him from office, adding that God did not allow their plans to succeed.
Explaining that those who wanted to remove him from office were currently struggling politically, Amaechi promised to continue to stand by the people.
He also condemned Tuesday’s attack of APC supporters in Asari-Toru and Khana Local Government Areas, as they made their way to the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, venue of the inaugural Buhari presidential campaign.
“I thank God for this opportunity. I never knew I would be governor. Today, I am governor by the grace of God. I have stayed in office till 2015. By this time last year, the men who thought they were God, thought I would have been out of office.
“By this time last year, men had collected money to remove us from office, but the God we worship never allowed it to happen. Now, they are the people struggling. We told them there will be this time, when they will be looking for our votes.
“I want to thank all of you and thank Rivers people, for accepting to make me your governor. I may not have been the best governor you have ever seen. I am not a perfect man at all, because I am human.
“When we came, we addressed insecurity. In the past, we could not have had our rally here. We are gradually going back to that. I hear today that members of the APC from Asari-Toru (Kalabari) and Khana (Ogoni) Local Government Areas were shot at on their way to this place”, he stated.
Amaechi told the crowd at the stadium that members of the Peoples Democratic Party believed in guns while their APC counterparts believed in God and power of the Nigerian people.
“The fact that they shot you, brings to the fore the argument we put forward that currently, the government in power cannot protect you and I. If the government could protect you and I, why were we shot at? Who bought guns for those people, who shot at our members?
“Go and get your PVCs and vote for all APC’s candidates, beginning from Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; his vice; Rivers governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside; and his running mate, Honourable Asita Okorie. We will make sure they win”, Amaechi added.
Some of the dignitaries at the Buhari presidential campaign train are the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; Governors of Lagos and Ogun States, Babatunde Fashola and Ibikunle Amosun respectively; National Chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun; former FCT Minister and APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai; House of Representatives member and APC governorship candidate in Rivers, Dakuku Peterside and former PDP national chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe.
It was learnt that the crowd that converged on the stadium caused a heavy traffic jam for several hours along the Port Harcourt Airport Road.