Damilol Aina, Abuja

Daily Courier – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, constituted a 128-man national campaign council for the Osun State governorship election coming up on July 16

The campaign council is headed by the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri as the chairman, while Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was also named among the 128 other members of the campaign council by the party.

Speaking on behalf of the council Chairman and Bayelsa State governor, Duoye Diri, its Vice Chairman and Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, alleged the PDP was rigged out in the 2018 exercise but would be hard to cheat this time.

He said: “We have a popular candidate. All we need to do is to block all the opportunities for rigging. From what I heard about the last election in Ekiti State, it is now more difficult to rig. What they may do is vote-buying. We should be equal to the task.”

Ishaku stressed the need for the campaign council to relate with stakeholders and resolve all pending differences to go into the election as a united front.

In his goodwill message, Okowa regretted the manner the PDP was cheated during the 2018 Osun State governorship election but was confident that the party will win the forthcoming exercise.

He observed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has plunged Nigeria into a very difficult time, assuring that the PDP is coming back rebranded to rescue the country.

The vice-presidential candidate said: “We are very much aware of the events that took place four years ago. There is no doubt that PDP won that election but unfortunately, we were cheated out of the election.

“As we move into another election, we are confident that if all of us stay committed to the party, we will be able to deliver the victory for our party.

“Osun State obviously is a PDP state. We have great leaders who have a very clear understanding of the politics in that states.

“I want to urge all our leaders and our followers in the state to please quickly bridge the gaps of divide that is amongst us because victory stares us right in the face. God has gone ahead of us. It is for us to follow the wish of God and deliver the state to the PDP.

“There is a lot of work to be done. It is not a fun fair, And I believe that the membership of the campaign council inaugurated today are capable enough to truly go out there to deliver the state to the PDP.

“I want to make an appeal to the campaign council. It’s not about being inaugurated in Abuja, the work to be done is in Osun State. And I want to plead with them to ensure that they go out there to Osun State, work with the leadership of the party and work with the candidate of the party to ensure that everything is put in place to deliver the PDP in that election.

“From the information that we have, the APC is already in disarray in the state but that is not enough for us to go to sleep.

“By the special grace of God, I will be joining you in the campaign to ensure that we have victory for our party, and I am glad to also announce that our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on his return for his trip overseas, will also be with us during the campaigns.

“I believe nobody wants Nigeria to continue the way it is today. The very, very difficult times that we are in has been brought to us by the bad governance of the APC government.

“We believe that we are able to redeem Nigeria, rescue it and begin a process of rebuilding this nation.

“Yes, we were in the office and made some mistakes. We have learnt our lessons, we have apologised to Nigerians. We’re coming back as a rebranded PDP and we are going to entrench democracy.

“I implore you to take this message to the grassroots and ensure that every indigene of Osun State vote massively for the PDP.”

The acting National Chairman of the PDP, Umar Damagun, who inaugurated the council, advised the members to do all that is necessary to enable the PDP to reclaim Osun State.

He said: “I simply want to remind us of the responsibility that is going to be bestowed on you. Your sole mandate is to go to Osun State and win the election for us. Osun is key to our presidential election.

“And I believe with the calibre of people that have been selected to steer this campaign organization, I have no doubt that you will give us the desired result.

“I also want to advise you to use that opportunity to engage the stakeholders in Osun, go to every corner, we have a very popular candidate in Osun and we have no reason not to win the election.

“So, I believe with the calibre of people in this committee, I’m sure Osun will become ours. You will make a lot of sacrifices for the task ahead of you, engage stakeholders that are aggrieved.

“If it is possible, break yourself into smaller committees to reach out to all and sundry. Just make sure you give all it takes to win this election.”

In his welcome remark, the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Umar Bature, affirmed that after what happened in 2018, it will be difficult for the PDP to be cheated in the Osun poll.

“As we are all aware, our victory in the 2019 elections was taken away, but we are more than confident this time around and it will be extremely difficult for anybody to take away our victory,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Only the vice-presidential candidate of the party and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state were present at the event.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, his Bayelsa State counterpart, Douye Diri who is the chairman Osun State Gubernatorial National Campaign Council, among several of their colleagues were absent on Wednesday, June 29, when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) inaugurated the campaign council.

Governors Seyi Makinde, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Emmanuel Udom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Darius Ishaku, Samuel Ortom, Godwin Obaseki, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Bala Mohammed were among the 128 committee members but they were all absent at the inauguration.