BY INUSA NDAHI, MAIDUGURI
* President Buhari on arrival at Maiduguri airport*
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday stormed Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, in continuation of his presidential rally/campaign tour as Candidate of the Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in next month general elections.
*Gov Shettima, the Chief host*
R-L: Gov Shettima, President Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi
* The huge crowd that heralded the President to the campaign venue*
The Presidential Campaign Team who arrived Airforce Base, Maiduguri aboard Nigerian Airforce at about 10:35am, was received by Governor Kashim Shettima, his Deputy, Usman Durkwa, the APC gubernatorial candidate Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, serving and former Ministers, Senators, ex- governor Ali Modu Sheriff among other top dignitaries, party stalwarts and mammoth crowd.
* President Buhari acknowledging cheers*
* President Buhari addressing the rally*
The Team first paid a courtesy call on the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Elkanemi in his palace at about 11am before proceeding to Ramat Shopping Complex, venue of the rally.
The Royal father thanked Mr. President for his commitment in the fight against Boko Haram sect in the region, and urged him to sustain the tempo following the renewed attacks recently.
President Buhari earlier thanked the Royal father for his blessings and concern and support to government in the fight against insurgents, and promised that government is doing everything possible to end the lingering crisis in the region.
* The crowd of supporters*
Governor Shettima in his welcome address at the Ramat Square called on the people of the state to come out enmasse on 16th February, 2019 to massively cast their votes for President Buhari.
He said, since Buhari came into power on 29th May, 2015, his administration has given more priority to the restoration of peace in Borno and the north east subregion.
He noted that the sustained fight and defeat of Boko Haram sect by Nigerian Military and other security forces have given a hope to people, especially millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region, through liberation of communities hitherto destroyed by insurgents.
The National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu thanked the people of the state for coming out enmasse to welcome/receive Mr. President and his campaign team.
He said, “in 2015 when we came on board, we made a promise to Nigerians that we are going to deliver the country from corruption, hunger and insecurity.
” We can beat our chase now that government under president Buhari has addressed most of these challenges.
“We are determined to give this country a solid foundation, and that is why we are solidly behind Buhari led government.
“Buhari has been upright, firm and steady for the progress of this country, unlike in the past where PDP ruined the fortune of Nigerians for the past 16 years of misrule.
National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole on his part, recalled that, when the traumatized people of the north east were in time of need, the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could not come to their aide, instead they squandered monies meant for security votes.
” It is high time for the people of Borno to rally round President Buhari and other candidates of the APC for better future. I hope and believe come 16th February this year, APC will have 95% votes from Borno people/electorate.
“Although, we are not 100% perfect as government, we have to admit that there are still some security challenges, but efforts are being put in place to address it under President Buhari.” Oshiomole stated.
The Presidential Team also received PDP stalwarts who defected into the APC fold. They are former governor of Borno state, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, Former PDP Chairman Baba Basharu, former senatorial candidate of Northern Borno on the platform of the PDP, Kaka Bolori, with thousands of their supporters.
President Buhari while addressing the mammoth crowd within three minutes said, in 2015, he promised Nigerians of economic transformation, fight against corruption and insecurity.
He boasted that in the last three and half years, the APC led government has fulfilled on these three cardinal promises through agricultural revolution, constant investigation and apprehension of corrupt government officials without fear or favour and the sustained fight and defeat of Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal activities in the country.
“As your President, I want to assure you that our government will reciprocate all the support you have been rendering to our great party.
“The security situation is glaring that government has done wonderfully well, we will not relent, but strive to ensure total restoration of peace, as all of you have attested that this government is committed towards ending Boko Haram and other criminal activities in the country.
He therefore called on the people of Borno state to give their votes to all APC candidates so that they would all enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Buhari also used the opportunity and sympathized with some party supporters who sustained various degrees of injuries in the collapsed stand/podium during the rally at the venue, and Prayed Allah to grant them quick recovery.