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Atiku Abubakar Most Experienced, Reliable to Restart Nigeria’s Failing Economy, Ease Security Concerns – PDP USA Chair Pastor Joe Olobor

January 26, 2023

By Ajong Mbapndah L [caption id="attachment_103991" align="alignnone" width="576"] Atiku Abubakar is the most experienced and reliable hand to restart Nigeria's failing Economy and ease security concerns, says PDP USA Chair Pastor Joe Olobor[/caption] As Nigerians brace up for crucial elections, Pastor Joe Olobor says all the PDP and its flagbearer former Vice President Atiku Abubakar can save Nigeria from the brink of disaster created by eight years of Buhari and the APC administration. Speaking to Pan African Visions on the sidelines of the PDP USA Chapter conference in Maryland, Pastor Joe Olobor said with his experience, PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar is the most experienced and reliable candidate to restart Nigeria’s failing economy, ease security concerns, and usher in a new dawn for Nigerians. Holding under the theme “positioning Nigeria for greatness in the 21st century” the conference attended by delegates from all over the USA, and former leaders like Dr Harold Molokwu, declared unflinching support for the  Atiku /Okowa ticket  and mapped out strategies to ensure their triumph in the 2023 polls. May we start with the state of the PDP in the USA, how is your Chapter doing? Pastor Joe Olobor: PDP-USA has been here for a long time, since the inception of PDP in Nigeria. The PDP was inaugurated years ago, and we have had many successful leaders. Last year in June, the former chairman handed over to me after successful elections. We have branches in about 47 States in the USA and the branches are the powerhouse of PDP-USA, each branch has its chairman and its executives. This year being an election year, it has been very busy for us – busy in the sense that we have to promote our candidate, HE Atiku, with Vice Presidential candidate Ifeanyi Okowa, that is the main thing we are doing and this conference is to endorse them formally. This is our main conference before the election, some of our members will go home and vote and some of us are influencers – one person has about twelve thousand people that we can tell that this is the person they will vote for. We are here to make sure that our members reach out to all their family members and friends to tell them about the right candidates to vote for. Seven years of APC have been a disaster, insecurity is one of the major things, most members of the diaspora cannot go home because of fear or insecurity. With insecurity, economic growth cannot happen. That is why we are making sure that our friends and family members vote for Atiku and Okowa so that they can restart the economy and the development of Nigeria. Atiku is the most experienced, most prepared and most reliable hand to move Nigeria out of its present state. [caption id="attachment_103994" align="alignnone" width="1080"] Members of the PDP USA gave the Atiku/Okowa ticket a resounding endorsement and a pledge to support them all the way to victory[/caption] In terms of preparations for the elections, how prepared is the PDP and how prepared is the PDP-USA in trying to shore up support for candidate Atiku? Pastor Joe Olobor: Our position is to do all possible to support our candidate H:E  Atiku Abubakar and his running mate and spread the message to our relations and friends to entrust the ship of Nigeria in their hands. We have the power to tell them who to vote for. Most of us are going home – like me, I am going to my ward, I have to deliver my ward, my unit and my local government and my senatorial district, that is my duty as a leader in my ward. I am going down there with my physical presence to make sure that I push that home. But here we are trying to make sure that all the PDP-USA members do the same, even if they cannot go, they can influence thousands of people who depend on them to vote for us in the elections. In terms of the merits of your candidate Atiku, why do you think that Nigerians should give him the chance to become the next president as opposed to his challengers? Pastor Joe Olobor: If you look at the leading candidates, Atiku has been there as a Vice President for eight years (to President Obasanjo) and during those eight years, Atiku was the head of the economic team, and they brought the best Nigerians to head the economy of Nigeria and the debts we paid down. Now, the debt of this country is more than seventy-something trillion dollars from about the 10 billion owed before. He is the only person who knows what he did then out of the three that can do it. He has experience as the No.2 person in Nigeria, he knows the situation of Nigeria, he is a well-travelled man, he is exposed and he knows what to do about taking care of Nigerian problems. Insecurity he will take care of it, and the economy, agriculture, and infrastructural development will be booming. Out of the three, Atiku is the only man that has a school that is functioning and has never gone on strike, he is coming to stabilize the educational system in Nigeria so that children will not go on strike. Atiku is an employer of labour, he has mechanized farms all over the country. We need someone like that that can take care of the economy of this country. In terms of the election itself, how confident are you in the ability of the Independent Electoral Commission to deliver free and fair elections? Pastor Joe Olobor: We believe that safe  transmission of  results from polling booths, directly to INEC, will give credibility to the results . If the results of the polling booths are directly going to Abuja (INEC), definitely we will have good results, that is our confidence. Nobody is going to hand count the votes, so, if it is transmitted, we are confident with that. The president has assured us that the elections are going to be transparent, and we are only believing that and that is our assurance. How confident are you that after so many unsuccessful Presidential runs, this may finally be Atiku’s year? Pastor Joe Olobor: In the first attempt, the structure was a little bit feeble. In the second, the structure became solid but because there was no transparency in the transmission of the vote to the electoral commission, there were some things that happen, and we know he won that election. This time we are more than confident because if the votes are transmitted to INEC directly, definitely the results will be positive for us. We have structures all over the country and we  believe that South-South will deliver, South-East we are going to win, North-East we are going to win those areas, North-Central and the North-West we are going to win them. Even in the South-West, we have the belief that we are going to win more than 25 per cent of those states. [caption id="attachment_103996" align="alignnone" width="1080"] Chairman Emeritus Dr Harold Molokwu answered present for the conference and shared in the optimism of a better Nigeria when Atiku Abubakar wins the 2023 elections[/caption] You sound so confident, and you live in a country where there is a democracy, if by some chance your candidate does not win, are you people going to accept the results? Pastor Joe Olobor: I will say yes and no. If the election result is transparent and we do our calculations from the ward level to the national level and we are defeated, then yea. But if there is anything that is not transparent then we will reject it. With regards to the relations between the USA where you leave and Nigeria, assuming that Atiku wins, what are some of the reforms you will like to see him put in place to improve relations between the two countries? Pastor Joe Olobor: My candidate Atiku was here (USA) in June to meet with the USA government. The relationship is going to be cordial, Atiku has lived here, and he knows what operates here. He knows the structure; we are going to make sure that kind of structure is there so that the government of Atiku is transparent to the people of Nigeria, and we will make sure that there is development all over this country. That is what we can assure our citizens that Atiku is going to transform Nigeria from what it is. It is going to be a new dawn for Nigeria under President Atiku Abubakar. On President Buhari, what assessment do you make of the eight years he has been there? Pastor Joe Olobor: Zero. As a good teacher, if I am grading,  he failed in all areas. Insecurity in Nigeria is number one; without security, there is nothing you can do to develop a country. The citizens are not happy, they are afraid to go from the city to their villages. Economic activities have been grounded, in my village people cannot go to the farm, because they will either be kidnapped before they get to the farms, or their economic activities have been destroyed. If I am travelling from the city to my village, I have to be careful to get there and come back, that has never happened in Nigeria, and that is zero for President Buhari. The rate of dollar to Naira used to be 1 to 2 or even less but today it is 1 to 850. That gap happened in the 7 years of the current president; I cannot give him a pass mark on that. Petroleum has increased from 75 naira to 185 naira, the poor masses are oppressed, not happy with what is going on and fuel is not even available. How many refineries do we have in Nigeria, but no one produces a barrel, we export our crude and import what we exported at a higher price. Atiku is going to cleanse the chaos created by Buhari and the APC and completely overhaul Nigeria. Are you concerned with the divisions we seem to see in the PDP, some senior party members are not happy, are you concerned that this might negatively affect your party and its flagbearer? Pastor Joe Olobor: It is concerning because we need everybody to win an election, but you cannot put everybody in one bowl to win an election. Atiku was endorsed by Obasanjo in 2019, what did we get? We did not win the election. So, his endorsement does not make any difference. This is somebody that was president for eight years and wanted a third term, he is not a democratic person, if you are a democratic person, you should be able to relinquish power after eight years, that is what the constitution states, but he wanted to change it. That is his problem with Atiku because Atiku fought against that. Governor Wike is talking about equity and justice, the outgoing Governor is from the same village, so there is no other person that can be governor of that state. Is that equity or justice? You are the one bringing that to the national fora because someone is from the North or South, the zone where Atiku comes from they have never produced a president, is that not a concern? You have the party structure, let us deal with it internally. Our party should sit them down and see what they need and resolve it before the election, we need everybody to win the election. But if they decide not to, you cannot force a horse to drink water, but we need everybody. To Nigerians out there who are still undecided, what message do you have for them? Pastor Joe Olobor: We need a person that is stable to handle the ship of the country. The ship is sinking, we need an experienced hand to move it to safer shores. We want the country to go to a destination where America is and all the civilized world is .That is where the vehicle is going and we need a steady hand, an experienced person, someone that has proven that he can handle the job- that is what the Atiku and Okowa will bring to Nigeria.Experience, readiness, a strong passion for Nigeria, a strong vision, and Nigerians should  feel confident that they will usher in a new dawn for the country with victory in the 2023 elections.

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