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2019: Defeating PDP Won’t Be Easy, Gov Bello Admits

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Yahaya Bello, Kogi State governor, has admitted that defeating the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election won’t be an easy feat.

He said the only option open to stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was to embark on aggressive marketing of the qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party.

The governor gave this impression Wednesday night when President Buhari hosted a dinner for youth political appointees at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He warned the APC against complacency, saying the opposition won’t be a push over and should not be taken for granted in the run down to the elections.

But the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the PDP in its 16 years did not do one tenth of what the APC has done in the past three and half years, adding that the ruling party went to the 2015 election with promises but will be going with its score card in the 2019 elections.

Bello also stated that though the president is considered a better choice for the country till 2023, the issue of perception was one that must be taken seriously by the APC to ensure that no chance was given to the opposition to return to power.

He said the task before the APC was to convince the masses of all Mr. President had done for Nigerians.

“A good product sells itself and Mr. President is a very good product. And his competence is definitely needed for the progress of this nation. But we need to go out there and sell him to the people.

“Public relations practitioners will tell you that at some point, having a good product without excellent advertising is a winking in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does. Perception is reality but when it comes to politics and campaigning, perception management is therefore critical in a time like this.

“We must market the incredible accomplishment of Mr. President and of his administration to every voter and in a language he or she understands. If we fail, God forbid, the adverse narrative being put out by the PDP and other propaganda machines will dominate the land and shape perception.

“If we don’t market our product very well, a tough and progressive victory against a terrorist threat which continues to cost the lives of our brave military and law enforcement agencies will be mistaken for inactions.

“If we don’t market our product very well, try our political exposed offenders using long extant laws which previous leaders were not willing to deploy against cronies, accomplishes will be mistaken extra-judicial measures and disdain for the rule of law.

“If we do not put Mr. President’s achievement before our people so that they can sight it themselves, we will be agreeing with the PDP that in fighting corruption which he is offering again is somehow better than the alleged incompetence of the APC which has accomplished everything I have enumerated above.

“In summary, all may be lost if we don’t get Nigerian people to see why they must vote and allow Mr. President continue his great work as we go to the poll in 2019.

“All that the crooked PDP is offering Nigerians is that corruption is better than incompetence in quote. 2015 was about change, 2019 will be about progress.

“As members of the APC, we will not deny that our party has a huge task in the 2019 general elections, the election will never be a walk-over and the PDP will not be a push over.

“And we must take nothing and no one for granted. If we cannot defeat PDP, maybe we should not be influencers or we should not even go into politics.”

On his part, SGF Mustapha said, “As a government arm, we have achieved so much and I am going to make available to you a document that we have put together, which captures what the government has been able to achieve in just about two and half years, what I called a midterm report.

“If we have to make a comparison of what has been achieved in the last couple of years, the 16 years of PDP administration will not constitute one-tenth of what we have been able to achieve in the last three and half years”.

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