- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 05:50
- Written by Tribune
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PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, vowed that the Peoples Democratic PartY (PDP) would take over the states of the South-West very soon, declaring that the zone is too important in the scheme of things in the country to be left in the hands of “rascals.”
This is just as the chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, declared that the party decided to support Dr. Jonathan to be the next president of the country, so as to give the minority tribes a sense of belonging and strengthen the unity of the country.
The two leaders, among other notable Nigerians, spoke in Ibadan during the South-West campaign of President Jonathan, with the governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, conspicuously absent.
Winners of the party’s gubernatorial tickets in the zone as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, who is going for another term in the House of Representatives, were presented the flags of the party, at the rally.
President Jonathan, who stated that he and the PDP remained indebted to the people of the zone over their overwhelming support in 2007, when he and the late President Umaru Yar’Adua came to seek for their votes and in December 2010, when he came to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to canvass for the votes of the party’s delegates at the PDP primary, said he came to thank the people of the state and to solicit their support yet again.
“I am here to thank you for your support. In 2007, I came here with former President Yar’Adua to beg for your votes and you gave us your support. We owe you for that.
“In December 2010, I returned to beg for your delegates’ votes at the congress and you voted for me massively. We are here again to solicit for the support of the entire people of the state.
“I must tell you that the South-West is a very important zone in the country. It is becoming the most cosmopolitan zone in the country. About 50 per cent of the people in Lagos alone are not from the South-West. In Ogun State, about 25 per cent of the citizens are not from the South-West. This is not to talk about Oyo and other states. Anything that happens here affects the entire nation and so, the region must be taken seriously.
“I can assure you that we will take back Lagos, Ekiti and Osun; we will control the entire South-West. Lagos is important to us and I am happy that we have presented our flag to a capable candidate - Dr Ade Dosunmu. The entire South-West is too important, too sophisticated and too educated to be in the hands of rascals,” he said.
The president also promised the people of the region that his government would reciprocate the support they had for him by running a transparent government, where everybody would be taken care of without consideration for their tribe, religion or other inclinations.
“Two things are very important in any country and for any government; respect for law and order is important. The next thing is a sound economy. You must stimulate the economy to turn it around. We are committed to this and we have discovered that we must stabilise power to achieve this. Let me tell you that the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) work in Ogun State is currently contributing 250 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. For a very long time, we had been stagnated on generation of 3,000 megawatts. But now, we are generating 4,000 megawatts and we will not let it fall, but continue to add to it,” Jonathan promised.
While addressing the mammoth crowd at the campaign ground of Mapo Hall, former President Obasanjo described President Jonathan as a candidate that had been through necessary tutelage to take the country out of the woods.
He said, “we believe that at this point in the history of the country, having Jonathan as president will strengthen the country’s unity. He is from a minority South-South tribe. His presidency will serve to unite the country and give the minorities, wherever they are, a sense of belonging. I believe that we are right and we have been proved right.
“However, nothing should be taken for granted; we know that we have a lot of work to do. A lot of areas are still crying for our attention; economy, power, reduction of corruption, youth unemployment and infrastructure. These areas must not be neglected. But I take solace in the fact that our president is a person who has passed through a period of tutelage. There are many capable men and women. All that needs to be done is for all hands to be on deck.”
Also speaking on the event, where security operatives, among them soldiers, regular and mobile policemen, members of the Civil Defence Corps and men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), had a hectic time controlling the crowd, was the Oyo State governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, who in his welcome address, assured President Jonathan that he was as good as having won the April presidential poll.
“Shehu Shagari was here on this historic Mapo Hill in 1979 and he won his election. Obasanjo was here and he won his election. Umaru Yar’Adua came here and he won. As you are here today, you have won.
“The tribunal judgments in some South-West states were not the true reflection of our stand in this region; we are all PDP members in the South-West. Come April, South-West will vote massively for you,” he said.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Bankole, who referred to Chief Obasanjo as Ebora Owu while observing the protocol in his speech, said those who represented the region in Abuja knew what they were doing for the South-West, calling on the people not to let President Jonathan down.
He said the youth, between the ages of 18 and 30 years, were the most registered in the just-concluded voter registration, charging them not to lose their votes.
The South-West zonal women leader of the party, Chief (Mrs) Nike Oluwole, used the occasion to canvass for the realisation of the 35 per cent representation and benefit the party promised women, adding that since about 60 per cent of the people at the campaign ground were women, President Jonathan should be rest assured that he had their support.
Apart from the former national chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali, who counselled that Lagos State should not be allowed to be ruled by “liars,” another speaker at the event was the national vice chairman (South-West) of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, who assured the president of the total support of the region.
Presented with the party’s flag during the campaign were the gubernatorial candidates for Oyo, Chief Alao-Akala;, Ogun, General Adetunji Olurin and Lagos, Ade Dosunmu.
Other dignitaries at the event were Vice-President Namadi Sambo; wife of the president, Patience Jonathan; former BoT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih; former All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) leader, Chief Harry Akande, who had defected to the PDP; Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode; Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva; former governors of Ekiti and Osun states, Chief Segun Oni and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Others were wife of Oyo State governor, Chief (Mrs) Kemi Alao-Akala; former deputy governor of Osun State; Chief (Mrs) Olusola Obada; national secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje; chairman of the president’s campaign organisation in Ekiti State, Chief Femi Akinyemi; senators and senatorial candidates and other candidates of the party for various positions.
Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana, has told President Jonathan that he had been ordained by God to lead Nigeria and could not, therefore, be stopped by any forces.
The monarch made the remark in his palace, on Tuesday, when he received the president, vice-president and members of the presidential entourage, who were in Oyo State for the South-West zone flag-off of the PDP presidential campaign.
The Olubadan who prayed for the safety and continued good health of the president, noted that unless the same God, who, he said, had sanctioned Jonathan to rule decided otherwise, no power could stop him.
In his remarks, President Jonathan thanked the Olubadan for his prayers, recalling that before he embarked on the primary, the Olubadan was one of the traditional rulers he visited, who similarly prayed for his success.
The president promised not to let Nigerians down, adding that his administration would not cause discrimination among Nigerians, irrespective of religion or ethnic affiliation.
In another development, Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State has explained the reason for his inability to attend the South-West zone presidential rally in Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Daniel said his supporters stormed his private residence in Sagamu and prevented him from travelling to the venue of the rally ,due to the current political situation within the state chapter of the PDP.
Daniel added that he and his loyalists would break their “fast” today, which literally means that they might likely defect to other party.
Governor Daniel, flanked by his deputy, Alhaja Salmot Badru, Gboyega Isiaka and other party loyalists, came out around 12.25 p.m to address the gathering over the turn of events in the party in recent times.
“I was about setting out for the commencement of the South-West zonal presidential rally scheduled to hold in Ibadan this morning when my supporters blocked the way that I should not attend the rally.
“When I asked them why, their responses were that I could not attend because they had been cheated over recent happenings in the party and, as a faithful leader, I agreed with them,” Daniel said.