- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 05:11
- Written by Punch
- Hits: 2479
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on February 10, 2007 during a meeting of the PDP members and stakeholders, Obasanjo had reportedly said that the elections were a do-or-die affair for his party.
Obasanjo had said then, “It is left to you to ensure that we elect credible and committed leaders. I commend those of you in the PDP for your efforts so far. I will campaign. This election is a do-or-die affair for me and the PDP. This coming election is a matter of life and death for PDP and Nigeria.”
Though, he clarified later that the election would only be a do-or-die affair to prevent those who might drag the nation backward from coming to power, the opposition said the statement was behind the massive rigging that hallmarked the 2007 poll which both local and international observers condemned as falling short of acceptable democratic standards.
The late President Umaru Yar’Adua at his inauguration on May 29, 2007, admitted that the election that brought him to power was faulty.
Till date, judicial contests over the election that held almost four years ago are still raging while the results of the poll in several states have been upturned by the courts.
The courts, for instance, had sacked the PDP governors enthroned in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Edo states, while the victory of many erstwhile members of national and state assemblies had been equally upturned.
At the Tafawa Balewa Square on Tuesday, Obasanjo assured President Goodluck Jonathan that he would win the April 9 presidential poll.
He told the president, “I know that you have flagged off your zonal campaign in the South-West, but this is the first time you are beginning the state by state campaign in this region and you are beginning with Lagos. You have given the state the pride of place which it deserves.
“Mr. President, people normally say they do not want history to repeat itself; it is bad history that must never repeat itself. When the history is good, we should pray that it repeats itself. In this TBS venue, your predecessor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, campaigned here about four years ago and won the presidential election, that is good history. Having been on this platform this time around, all that you need from me is to congratulate you. Let us congratulate ourselves for this victory.”
However, Jonathan, in another variant of the Ibadan declaration, said Lagos was too important to be left in the hands of politicians, noting that the country’s economic strength was dependent on some buoyancy of commercial activities in the state.
The president had reportedly said during the flag-off of his campaign in the South-West that the geo-political zone was too important to be left in the hands of rascals.
He promised to partner with Lagos State for its continuous growth and economic buoyancy. He explained that for the country to realise its 2020 vision, it could not afford to neglect the state.
Jonathan said, “We have taken this period to study what we are going to do and by your mandate in May 29, we will hit the ground running. Lagos is a very important state that no politician will play with it. You would have realised that on resumption of office as President, I have visited Lagos more than any other state. I brought some of my programme to Lagos because I know that for you to fix the economy of Nigeria; you must know what is happening in Lagos State and you must work with the people.
“Lagos is unique for three reasons: population, which is not the key thing; it is the most cosmopolitan state in Nigeria- in every one kilometre square you will see tribes from different parts of the country staying there. So, it is a state that the government must take serious. But more importantly, if our ambition to play big by the year 2020 must be realised, then of course we must stimulate commerce and industry and you cannot do that without Lagos. From bank deposits and loans, Lagos State controls more than 50 per cent of the economy of the country.
“So, you cannot play with such a segment of our population. That is why we have shown interest in Lagos and we will continue to do that because we want to change things and move the state and the country forward. One thing we must do is to stimulate industries in Lagos; we want all the factories to pick up again. We will work with all the relevant agencies to get that done.”
Jonathan also noted the South-West had produced the likes of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Ladoke Akintola, Chief MKO Abiola, among others, saying it was the spirit with which those great leaders had worked that his administration would adopt.