- Category: Politics
- Published on Friday, 06 August 2010 05:00
- Written by Nigerian Compass
- Hits: 1880
CHAIRMAN of a pro-Jonathan Group, Friends of Democracy, and Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji, yesterday said that President Goodluck Jonathan would pick Vice President Namadi Sambo as running mate, when he eventually declares to run next year.
The group also said it had concluded plans to open offices in all the 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas, so that it could reach out to the grassroots people.
Meanwhile, one of the leaders of the group and former Deputy President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu, has said that about 846 groups in support of the President’s aspiration for 2011 might eventually merge with the Friends of Democracy to avoid working at cross purposes.
The event, which was convened to inaugurate the state and coordinators in the zones, was spearheaded by the Mantu and Abba-Aji.
Others dignitaries at the event are: former governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007 in Nasarawa State, Solomon Ewuga; AC governorship candidate in Kogi State in 2007, Senator Mohammed Ohiare; Senator Silvanus Ngele; former Minister of Commerce, Idris Waziri, and the former Deputy National Chairman, PDP South West, Shuaibu Oyedoku.
Also at the meeting were former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agunwa Anaekwe, Senator Clement Awoyelu, and the immediate past deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Imasuen.
While speaking at the occasion, Abba-Aji said that the Jonathan/Sambo ticket was assured in 2011, adding that whenever the President is making his declaration, he would be doing so on behalf of the Vice President.
He allayed fears that the President might drop Sambo by assuring the gathering that Jonathan as a democrat would not do anything that would put enmity between him and Sambo, who is currently a loyal deputy.
Mantu, the Chairman of the Planning and Strategy arm of the group, expatiated that the Friends of Democracy were not only working to realise the group’s objectives, but also to ensure that the about 846 groups in support of the President’s aspiration for the 2011 polls work harmoniously.
According to Mantu, all the groups may eventually merge with the Friends of Democracy to avoid working at cross purposes.
The group announced its decision to set up National as well as Zonal steering committees in the six geo-political zones.
Meanwhile, supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan Presidency for 2011 yesterday said that he was not being supported for what he had done, but because God had divinely positioned him to be President in 2011.
This was revealed in a goodwill message given by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed.
The event, which was organised by the Congress for Equality and Change, had in attendance, former Minister of Information and leader of Ijaw people, Chief Edwin Clark; former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi; former Petroleum Minister, Chief Don Etiebet; Senator Jonathan Zwingina; Sen. Ameh Ebute; the FCT Minister; former Minister of Transport, Abiye Sekibo; General Joshua Dogonyaro and other notable politicians.
Mohammed, while speaking at the occasion, said: “Jonathan has not affected me positively or Nigerians in any way, but we are here because God has divinely positioned him for 2011.”
The minister, who further eulogised Jonathan, said: “He is a man of humble background, a team leader, a patriot, a nationalist and a God-desired leader.”
Other people, who gave goodwill messages at the occasion, appraised the profile of the President, and described him as one of the best today.
According to them, Jonathan has been the only Nigerian that has risen from Deputy Governor to Governor; from Vice President to President.
They argued that no Nigerian living today, talking of leading this nation, has the same experience that Jonathan has in governance.
The chairman of the organisation, Senator Ameh Ebute, agreed that God has divinely positioned Jonathan today for a purpose.
He said: “We are convinced that the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, as the President of Nigeria, has divine recognition and acceptance of the doctrines of equality and change.
“Thus, we believe and support the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and urge him to embrace the God-given opportunity to run in the 2011 elections for the Presidency of Nigeria on PDP platform.
“The principles of zoning are embedded in the doctrines of equality and change, which propound that because all human beings are born equally with equal opportunities, certain political offices are zoned so as to achieve justice and fair play.
“Let me appeal to all men and women, boys and girls who believe in equality of human beings to embrace this congress for the realisation of their political dignity and emancipation. Any leadership which emerges from this congress will not treat other Nigerians as second class citizens nor deny or suppress political rights and privileges to other Nigerians.
“With the launching of the Congress today, the race for equality of the human person in Nigeria has just begun and will continue in perpetuity, until the aims and objectives of the congress are fully achieved.”
The chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Edwin Clark, said: “Any society, where opportunities and privileges are lopsidedly distributed, offers opportunities for mutual distrust, suspicion, civil unrest and instability.
“My fellow compatriots, it is common knowledge that Nigeria is a conglomeration of multi-complex ethnic nationalities, but most of these ethnic nationalities are comparatively disadvantaged in terms of numerical strength. Yet, these minority ethnic nationalities have contributed as much to the unity, development and growth of our country, both in terms of peace and turbulence.
“Their collective sacrifices have contributed to building pillars of wealth, prosperity and fame for our great nation. Challenged by the experiences of common and similar sacrifices and contributions to the wellbeing of the country, the coming together of these ethnic groups is essentially to harness the potential inherent in common identity, common socio-economic experience and the pursuit thereon of the ideals of social justice and equal opportunities.”
Also in Abuja, presidential spokesman, Mr. Ima Niboro, said that there was only one Presidency and that friction between the office of the President and his deputy remains a figment of the imagination of mischief makers.
He made this known while speaking during a send-forth reception he hosted in honour of his predecessor, Special Adviser to late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
According to him, the late President enjoyed harmonious and cordial working relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan, when he was his deputy.
On the perceived rift in the Presidency then, Niboro said: “But such people know little about the Villa because notwithstanding the unfortunate events of the last few months of President Yar’Adua’s life, he and President Jonathan related like brothers. And so did all the staff and will always be.”
Niboro also spoke about his relationship with his immediate predecessor, recalling that their relationship dates back to their days as practising journalists in Lagos, and that he had the pleasure of working with him as Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President from 2007 till when he resigned in May 2010.
“He strove gallantly, during his tenure, to build excellent relations between his principal and the media. He was down to earth, and always ready to call a spade a spade. Segun was no spin doctor, and some hated him for it. But as professionals, we knew he was doing a good job, and gave him our support,” Niboro said.
In his response, Adeniyi said: “I am sure there will be some Nigerians, perhaps many Nigerians who would be surprised that the spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan is hosting to dinner in the Villa someone considered a member of the ‘cabal’.
“But I take nothing for granted and that’s why I thank him immensely for this honour. But I understand the Villa enough to know that nothing moves without the President, and that if President Jonathan doesn’t approve of this occasion, it would not hold. So, I thank him for his generosity of spirit and for this kind gesture of his. I need to state here that I worked closely with President Jonathan first as Vice President, and later in his capacity as Acting President in those most difficult days in the Villa, and he knows I have nothing but great affection and respect for him.”
Adeniyi thanked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, who was at the occasion to honour him. He spoke glowingly of the SGF, who he said he knew about 10 years ago.
The Chairman of the State House Press Corp, Mr Daniel Idonor, praised Adeniyi for working harmoniously with journalists covering the State House, while in office.
Present at the occasion were the Minister of State for Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, President of the Guild of Editors, Mr Gbenga Adefaye; Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Sambo on Media, Umar Sani and others.