The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, believes the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is capable of securing the release of the remaining Chibok girls abducted by terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Terrorists invaded the premises of Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok, Borno State, and kidnapped 276 female students from the school hostel in April 2014.
Even though the girls were abducted during the administration of then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, President Muhammadu Buhari secured the release of 103 of them after he was inaugurated in 2015. Some of the other girls also escaped from the terrorist group and were found by military troops, but 112 remain unaccounted for.
According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal in December 2017, President Buhari approved the payment of €3 million to Boko Haram to facilitate the release of the girls. Five Boko Haram commanders were also released by the Nigerian Army as part of the deal.
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While speaking during an interview on Arise News on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Secondus said Buhari’s government has not been doing enough to engage the terrorist group despite the return of over 100 girls.
He said an Atiku administration would be more engaging and address issues more intentionally and effectively than the current administration.
He said, “Before they (APC) came on board, they said immediately they come in they would release the girls and all that. Yes, some girls have been released but not much has been had.
“We’ll engage those who are involved with the Chibok girls; not only deploying the people but technology as to locate them and how to get them out.
“I believe that this government is not doing enough in either deploying technology or otherwise engagement.
“We’ve learned from our experience and we’re going to do more and the president is going to do something totally different. This is one president that you can see and you can feel and he’s able to move around and engage people.
“This is most important because the president of a country must take responsibility, must be seen and address issues.”
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Buhari recently renewed his commitment towards ensuring the return of the remaining girls during a bilateral meeting with Swiss president, Alain Berset, on the sidelines of the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poland.
”We will continue to make the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls a priority and will welcome any kind of support from any quarters to make this happen,” he said.
Secondus expressed confidence that Nigerians will remove President Buhari at the polls in 2019 because the economy has collapsed and insecurity has spread to all corners of the country.
“Nigerians are ready for change the change. It’s not a question of PDP but a rescue mission to recreate the future of Nigeria,” he said.
While next year’s election, scheduled for February 16, 2019, is expected to be keenly-contested between Atiku and Buhari, they both face competition from other candidates including Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).
Others are Tope Fasua of the Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party (NIP), Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of the Kowa Party (KP), Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), Hamza Al-Mustapha of the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN), Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and many more.
79 candidates will contest in the election, the highest number ever in Nigeria’s electoral history.