*ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY ATIKU ABUBAKAR FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT AND THE PRESIDENTIAL FLAG-BEARER OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) AT THE 82ND SYNOD OF THE UNIVERSAL REFORMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH (U RCC) aka NKST AT MKAR ON 17TH NOVEMBER 2022*

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Church and Distinguished members of the Synod, I am greatly honoured to be here on this occasion of your historic, sacred and hallowed chambers of your synod. On behalf of my Running Mate Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the Governor of Delta State and our party the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria, I bring you felicitations. We are aware that many of you traveled from various parts of Nigeria and even overseas, to be here at this historic Synod, the last one to be held this year, and before the National election when I hope with God’s help to be elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. How time flies: In a little less than a hundred days from today, the PDP will once again bring back the glory of Nigeria.

The NKST’s journey in Tivland and throughout the world, to bring the gospel and development has lasted over a hundred years. Throughout this journey, you have brought development and fought for peace amongst our Nigerian citizens. You have provided some of the most enlightened politicians and administrators like the Late Aper Aku whose progressive leadership as Governor of Benue State has been unmatched.

The land on which I stand has produced great friends and Iconic leaders like Senator Joseph Tarka whose name is the renowned for mentoring us. I am also standing on the soil that has given birth to Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu the Chairman of our great party. Benue State is my home state just like Adamawa despite the challenges of present season of anomie and misunderstandings
I have friends like Senator Dr Iyorchia Ayu, Senator George Akume, Chief Terry Waya, Former Governor of Benue State Senator Dr. Gabriel Suswam, and of course His Excellency Dr. Samuel Ortom the Governor of Benue State, who ensured our victory in 2019 in Benue State despite the stolen mandate of the APC in that year.

On my Presidential Campaign Council are your prominent sons and daughters such as our National Chairman Dr Iyorchia Ayu, Governor Samuel Ortom, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Prof Iyowuese Hagher, Chief Mrs Margaret Icheen and Hon Chille Igbawua. Professor Hagher is my confidant whom I have entrusted with the management of my election nationally in 2023 while another of your sons Hon Chille Igbawua is incharge of managing the elections in all the northern states and FCT.

You have invested in the Health and Education sectors, and today have established one of the first private universities in Nigeria, which has a student body cutting across ethnic groups. It has not been easy for you the leaders of the Church to continue to be the light and salt of the world as directed all Christians by Jesus Christ himself. It has not been easy because to live in this country, has become a challenge to us all.

I am sure that some of your pressing agenda at this Synod must be about the prevailing insecurity in the country and how often Churches and Mosques have been the target of terrorists. I am sure that at this Synod, you must have prayed against the evil forces that have held Nigeria captive; bred insecurity, destroyed our economy, and created poverty. I know that as good Christian leaders you must have prayed to God to provide healing for the land and to give us new leaders of the nation in 2023 who would rescue Nigeria from plunging into the abyss. My prayer is that, we must not become a failed state, where the centre can no longer hold and mere anarchy becomes our lot.
You all know our problems, and I dare say that most of your clergy witness our challenges, our pains and our fears on a daily basis, because you live with our downtrodden, thinly clad, poor, and oppressed who look up to you and to God for succour. I did not come here as politicians do, with cheap promises blandishing my deep knowledge of the troubles bedeviling us.

You already know these problems; feel and live them. I dare not lecture you but listen to you. My party the PDP is sensitive to the balance of power between Christianity and Islam in this country, for us to have a good life where peace is assured and we are guaranteed liberty and pursuit of happiness. Those who fail to respect our religious diversity have done it with usual impunity. They will not get away with it this time around. I am running for President to guarantee our religious freedoms. We in the PDP have demonstrated this by
Presenting a Moslem – Christian balanced ticket.

My main purpose of coming to the Synod is for three reasons:

The first reason is to request that you pray for me, my running mate and the PDP for victory in the coming elections so that we will join hands with you to rescue Nigeria from its present trajectory to disaster. Our desire as a party is to bring happiness to the face of those who are refugees in their country, those who feel discriminated against where they live, work and study, because of their names, or the God they worship or where they were born. We believe that without your prayers the Nigerian House will be built on a sandy foundation, and it will fall.

The biggest challenge our country faces today is the lack of competent and committed leadership. We stand before you to enjoin you to pray to God to translate my apprenticeship as Vice-President for eight years to be Nigeria’s elected President in 2023. With God, I will be the President that will wipe away the tears of Nigerians by rallying the best brains and minds to lead Nigeria to national greatness. With a new united and committed leadership of my Presidency, nation building will be our focus and national greatness our destination.

The second reason I am standing before you today, is to seek the co-operation of the Church and by extension all faith based organizations in Nigeria to join hands with us the PDP as we roll back the terrible scourge of the last seven years of a failed economy, unemployment, corruption, failed infrastructure, failed education, failed health care as well as environmental challenges like global warming and flooding that is destroying lives and properties . Only you our Spiritual fathers can rally together our hapless citizens who are losing hope to know that they are more powerful than they think they are, and to unite with a common purpose to rescue Nigeria.

Let those who have no hope because of politician’s failed promises, know the power of their PVC as the power to hire and fire elected politicians. I stand here with you to say that our democracy is failing because when people yield to temptation and become indifferent to elections they are infact killing our country Nigeria. I stand before you in my incurable belief in the one united indivisible but diverse Nigeria. This is not the time to be hopeless.

This is the call of a wounded nation that must be taken by you today from the Mkar Mountain in North Central, to the creeks of South South in Rumaokoro in Rivers, to Badagri, in the South West, Chadawa in the North West, Oji River in South East, and Chibok in the North East. The desire for freedom, democracy and unity has rarely been clearer and stronger among Nigerians today as we face threats to our freedom of life, and individual pursuits. We face the biggest erosion of our democracy from impunity, the lack of law and order, and tribal and religious bigotry. The Church and the Mosque must link hands with the society to kill these enemies before our nation is destroyed.

The third reason, I am standing in your presence today is to state why I am running for President and why I seek your vote in the coming Presidential elections and for all the PDP candidates. My five point agenda is : Reunification, Economy, Security, Education and True Federalism ( RESET ).

I stand here for those who paid the supreme price in the Nigerian civil war for a united Nigeria and for our gallant Christians and Muslim young men and women of our Armed forces, who today continue to risk their lives and die to guard our freedom to worship, our territorial integrity and our diversity, from Boko Haram and other foreign invaders with strange doctrines who seek to destroy our way of life. Our experience in the last seven years has shown that our strength as a nation lies in our collective security and unity.

I am running for President to rescue our people from becoming hopeless, we must stand up for this nation and not yield to hopelessness and despair. Let us hold stubbornly and firmly to our dear country, no matter how awful things seem. Let us remember the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the great anti-apartheid veteran that “Hope is being able to see the light despite the darkness”. Surely it takes courage to see light in the darkness and more courage to speak the truth in times of hopelessness and despair.

I wish to conclude this address by pleading with my friends who in these moments of despair and darkness have seen me as a Fulani man rather than the Atiku Abubakar they knew. I remember how we stood together when I was Vice-President. I took a contrary position from our government against the pogrom at Zaki-Biam and Gbeji and Adoor. I stood with my Tiv brothers and sisters. We walked the streets of Zaki-Biam the day it happened, condemning the anti-Tiv violence and was vindicated years later when the army apologized. I am still the same person the Zege Mule u Tiv, I can assure you that when you elect me President, no Nigerian citizen will stay in bed unable to sleep because of foreign and domestic terrorists. My government will be a government of law and order and as a Pan-Nigerian President no ethnic group will feel excluded, marginalized and threatened. I am the same Atiku of yesterday I will stand by you as your President,

Atiku Abubakar, the Zege Mule u Tiv and Waziri Adamawa.

Long live the NKST
Long live Benue State and
May God bless Nigeria

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