Ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to a debate.

Speaking at the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party in Abuja on Thursday, Atiku said the National Convention of the party which produced him as flag bearer had given it a lot of momentum which must be built upon until the aim of winning the presidency is achieved.

“I am convinced without any doubts that this election is for us to win. We have built up so much momentum after the Port Harcourt convention but we also witnessed a lot of the momentum.

“It is now time for us to pick up the momentum again until we land in Aso Villa. We have lost elections, we have learnt our lesson and because we have learnt our lessons we embarked on the reform.

“It is normal therefore that after we have reformed ourselves, we should return to power and we must return to the people because Nigerians have agreed that we have learnt our lessons, we have reformed and we are now ready again to offer them a better leadership than the first time we came into office.”

The presidential candidate further said: “Our aim is to work very hard and collectively liberate our nation from the shackles of hunger, starvation, deprivation, bloodletting, killings and division which bedevil us today. We must all work hard to return our nation to the path of harmony, peace and progress,” Atiku said.

In his address, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus warned that any attempt by the Federal Government to use security agents and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig next year’s election would plunge the nation into crisis.

“Intelligence reports before us show that these agents are bent in manipulating the 2019 elections. The consequences of rigging 2019 election may be terrible for our dear country. 

“So, we call on all Nigerians and the International community to add their voices to the agitation towards ensuring that the APC, FG and the INEC conduct free and fair transparent election in 2019,” Secondus said.

In his remark, Senate President, Bukola Saraki echoed the position of the party boss on the lack of independence expected to be exhibited by INEC and security agencies in 2019, saying that the party must remain strong to fight against rigging.