Jonathan tasks Ondo PDP on unity, APC berates him over insurgency
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday reiterated his commitment to youth empowerment if re-elected in the February 14 poll, just as he urged the PDP leadership in Ondo State to resolve the crisis rocking the party.
Meanwhile, the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) has stated that President Jonathan lacked the competence, capacity and training to deal with the Boko Haram menace ravaging many parts of the Northeast region of the country and, therefore, could not be taken seriously when he claimed that he would deal with the terrorists.
He made the promise at Akure, Ondo State during his campaign, affirming his continued interest in the youth development through his 10-point agenda.
He added that his youth empowerment programme had led to the establishment of the Presidential Job Creation Board, which also co-opted the private sector to create two million jobs yearly.
The President who arrived on Tuesday, 18 hours before the rally to have ample time to resolve the matter that is already threatening his chances of winning the state in the poll, also blamed the gladiators in the crisis for promoting personal selfish agenda contrary to what should be the guiding ethical principle of a politician with interest to serve.
Addressing a mammoth crowd that was mobilised to the Democracy Park, Akure by all the warring factions who carried placards of opposing candidates, Jonathan charged party leaders in the state particularly the trio of the Governor Olusegun Mimiko, business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim and party chieftain, Olusola Oke, to get over their differences.
The President’s admonition came after a major protest was averted by the organisers of the event when they refused to present the party flags to candidates, to the chagrin of Mimiko who was visibly angry and who was seen on the podium expressing his anger at the development which could have led to a massive protest at the venue.
While the candidates in the camp of the governor were cleared to contest the polls on the platform of the party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), those loyal to the leadership of Ibrahim had secured an Abuja Federal High Court injunction declaring them as the authentic candidates.
According to the President who shifted his attention to the PDP after enumerating his achievements in the country, “what I will use this platform to request is that, yes, we have issues in Ondo State, but the party will work very hard to make sure that Ibrahim and the governor will sit down together and talk about the interest of Ondo State.
“The governor himself, Ibrahim and Olusola Oke, I call him my SAN, three of them must sit down to discuss the development of Ondo State. They must not sit down to discuss personal things or individual interests. They must work together to make sure that collectively we attain the development of Ondo State and the nation.
“Everything about politics is the people, not self. I know how I came into politics. Politics is about the people, but for the people we wouldn’t have been here today. I did not join politics because I wanted something for myself. So I am encouraging every politician to think about the people.
“They will serve us better if collectively they discuss, they think and do everything that will project Ondo State. That will allow the Federal Government to work with them to bring the dividends of democracy to Ondo State.
“They have some cold relationship now, but we will heat up the relationship and keep it warm. So those of you who are supporting us, we should know that we are together. We have these issues, we will resolve the issues. We have issues as a party and we will resolve these issues.
“Because we want one Ondo State, we want one PDP in Ondo State. If we don’t work together here, you will be surprised that another party will exploit it and none of us will be happy. We cannot play with Ondo State, because Ondo State has shown leadership, Ondo State is a PDP state, Ondo State will remain a PDP state. We will make sure the sons and daughters of Ondo State within the PDP will work together for the interest of our great party.”
In his remarks, Vice-President Namadi Sambo refuted the allegations of non-performance against the Jonathan presidency. He listed the 10 power generation stations, which they sneered the power sector has no transmitters to transmit and averred that the critics “have no information.”
He listed, to the confirmation of the President, the several transformation agenda and development policies of the administration in the education, health, transportation, employment, economic and agricultural sectors.
He stated that the PDP-led leadership was focused and sniggered that they were “not like those who are struggling to present their certificates.”
Among the PDP’s chieftains at the rally were the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, the Director-General of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Ahmadu Ali and his southern deputy, Peter Obi, the Director-General of the Technical Aide Corps, Dr. Pius Osunyikanmi, his National Sports Commission (NSC) counterpart, Gbenga Elegbeleye and the National Chairman of the party, Adamu Muazu.
Others were the Chief of Staff to the President, Dehinde Arogbofa, Iyiola Omisore, Gbenga Daniel, Deputy National Coordinator of Goodluck Support Group (GSG), Eddy Olafeso and Ondo Commissioner for Environment, Sola Ebiseeni.
A statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign organisation, said that the claim by President Jonathan during his campaign visit to Maiduguri, capital of Borno State and hotbed of the insurgency that he would deal with the menace of the terrorists looked more like a joke or mere talk designed for the occasion of the campaign event.
President Jonathan has been at the helm of affairs in Nigeria for more than five years. During this time, the Boko Haram has transformed from a group of armed delinquents to an active fighting group or movement without the government headed by Jonathan able to contain it. It is childish for the same person to say that he would deal with a group that became a monster under his watch.
President Jonathan is advised to stop the careless talk about dealing with Boko Haram, because he clearly had shown little appreciation and leadership in the area of national security. Rather, he should join eager and long-suffering Boko Haram victims across the country and other well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari emerges victorious in the February 14 poll to deal with Boko Haram, as well as unemployment and widespread official corruption, two other vices ravaging our nation under his watch.
If President Jonathan and his party want to be true to Nigerians, it is for them to acknowledge that to deal with Boko Haram, and the wider national security issues it has thrown up over the years is within the scope of his opponent, Buhari, because the latter has travelled similar road in the past with distinction when the nation’s security and well-being was endangered as it has been in the last four years since Boko Haram became a national security and regional security menace, while Jonathan fiddled.
The Boko Haram terrorists are no longer a group that President Jonathan and those who work with him can handle. A new and committed leader is needed. This is made more necessary because the terrorists have been holding more than 200 schoolgirls hostage for several months and have taken over chunks of the nation’s territory, without a whimper from the “happy-go-lucky” government of President Jonathan.
If in the past five years, the Boko Haram has transformed while Jonathan made empty promises, pray, how can such a leader make any difference in another four years? The most likely scenario if Jonathan is given another four years in office is that the terrorists would effortlessly take over the entire country.