Aisha Alhassan, former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development and the governorship candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP) in Taraba State, says she is confident of victory in 2019 general elections with her new platform.
Mrs Alhassan, a former senator, expressed the optimism on Wednesday in Abuja when she visited the UDP national secretariat with UDP Taraba State Executive to submit the state’s report to the party’s National Chairman, Godson Okoye.
She said it was not the name of political party that mattered in winning elections but the structure and followership in any election.
Mrs Alhassan, a.k.a. “Mama Taraba’’, as well as her counterpart, the former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, were disqualified by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election Screening Committee before the just concluded primaries of the party.
She said she now had more followers in UDP than she had before because of the injustice that was done to her by APC, saying what APC did had turned out to be a blessing.
“APC is just like a platform like any other political party, you can win election on any platform as long as you have people from the grassroots and you have the structure.
“It is just the name of our platform that is changed. As far as we are concerned, the followership is still intact. In fact we have more followership now.
“Because of the injustice done to me by the APC, we have a lot of sympathies now.
“The request for the UDP membership card now is overwhelming. I have told them to get a big hardcover note book and just be writing the names.
“So far we have printed 120, 000 membership cards within two weeks. People are still asking for more.’’
She assured the party leadership that there was nothing to be afraid of about the coming elections in Taraba, saying UDP is well rooted.
Mrs Alhassan said all her followers, supporters and key stakeholders left the APC to join her in UDP.
“All of us that nurtured the APC to where it was two weeks ago when we moved, completely left the party to the UDP.
“The executives and all that matter moved. The party has no structure any longer in Taraba.’’
The former minister said that if elected governor, she would promote peaceful co-existence among the people, just leadership and adequate security, saying without peace and security there would be no development.
Mrs Alhassan was accompanied by the party’s state officials and the 2019 general elections’ candidates in the state as well as a serving member of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Nura Danyoho.
Mr Okoye described Mrs Alhassan as a seasoned politician loved by people of her state and Nigerians.
He pledged that the party would work for the victory of Mrs Alhassan and its entire candidates across the country in 2019.
Mr Okoye said Mrs Alhassan could have been the governors of Taraba in 2015, adding maybe it was not her time then.
“We believe that this time God will grant her victory because we believe in the superiority of God that it is her time.’’
Donatus Ozoemena, UPD governorship candidate, Enugu State, also said he did not believe that diversity was the major problem of Nigeria.
Mr Ozoemena, a clergyman, said the U.S. was made up of people from different cultures and beliefs, yet they were still united.
“I came back home from U.S. with the belief that even though they say America is the greatest country on earth, Nigeria has more resources and more intellectuals that can beat U.S.
“I don’t believe that division is the major cause of the problem we are going through.’’
Mr Ozoemena also said UDP had strong structure to win Enugu governorship election.