- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 04:35
- Written by Daily Trust
- Hits: 2736
Ex-convict Olabode George sat prominently in the VIP stand yesterday at the poorly attended PDP’s presidential campaign rally in Lagos, which was addressed by President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Mohamed Namadi Sambo and other bigwigs of the ruling party.
George had stormed the Tafawa Square, venue of rally, in a PDP-embroidered Agbada along with his supporters, only three days after he regained freedom from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos. President Jonathan acknowledged George’s presence in his introductory remarks. But the presidency source insisted that the PDP chieftain turned up at the occasion without the knowledge of the Presidency.
The source said the President would have preferred that George stayed away from the venue of the rally considering the controversies surrounding the reception organised for the PDP chieftain after his release, but that “there was nothing the President could have done to stop him.”
“Mr President was not aware that Chief Bode George was one of those guests packaged for the event by the organisers. I am sure the organisers took the president unawares. I think the thinking of the President is to allow the ex-convict give his support in the background for now,” the source said.
Addressing the poorly-attended rally, Dr. Jonathan gave reasons why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government is keen on winning Lagos, saying the city is very important to the economic recovery of the nation. He said Lagos is too important to be ignored, adding that he has been visiting Lagos regularly in the recent past to familiarise himself more with opportunities in the city state.
He said the PDP wanted to move Nigeria forward economically, saying the commerce of Lagos which contributes more than 50 percent to the nation’s economy needs to be stimulated first to get the nation’s economy back on track.
“I am always feeling bad about deterioration of federal infrastructure in Lagos. We have open lands, houses and road infrastructure. I am not happy with the current state of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road and so many other federal roads in Lagos. We have set up a committee to look at the grey areas and see what Lagos State Government can handle and what the Federal Government could do effectively,” he said.
Jonathan also urged the people of Lagos to vote for his party’s governorship candidate Dr. Ade Dosunmu in order to make it easier to transact business between the state and Federal Government. He described the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos as his anchorman, saying, “We need a dependable anchorman in Lagos for our dreams and wishes to become a reality.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported yesterday that the turnout at the Lagos rally was an indication that President Jonathan’s support in some states is still shaky.
It said, “While many expect President Goodluck Jonathan to win Nigeria’s April election, a visit to an opposition stronghold shows the leader holds a shaky grasp in some states.
“Jonathan came to Lagos on Tuesday with Vice President Namadi Sambo as part of his campaign to travel to each of the oil-rich country’s 36 states ahead of the April 9 election. However, the stands remained empty at the massive Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos state during the event. The crowd that was there saw many local unemployed youth fighting and trying to pickpocket those attending.
“Lagos is held by the Action Congress of Nigeria, the nation’s strongest opposition party. Jonathan is the candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.”