Jonathan urges unity, denies marginalizing North
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan in Sokoto dismissed as erroneous the notion that he hates the northern part of the country and has been marginalising it in terms of development. He also canvassed unity of all, especially at these trying times in the nation.
The president, who spoke while addressing a political rally in furtherance of his re-election bid, said both allegations were not justified by facts on the ground.
He said that he had never marginalised any part of the country for any reason and that in some cases the north had been favoured above the south in the execution of projects.
He cited as example the establishment of fourteen federal universities out of which ten are located in the north.
Similarly, he said that although basic education was the responsibility of state governments, Federal Government had intervened in this area with the north benefitting more than the south.
Dr. Jonathan paid glowing tribute to two illustrious sons of Sokoto State, the late Sardauna of Sokoto and premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, for their immense contributions to the nation’s development.
The president, who had earlier paid homage on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111 to seek his blessing, said that nobody could use religion and ethnicity to divide us after living together for over a century. He said that it was imperative that Nigerians should unite to tackle the challenges facing the nation.
During the courtesy call, the Sultan urged the president to immediately bring an end to the insurgency while frowning at the use of religion and ethnicity at political rallies instead of issues.
The monarch added that the two major parties had a substantial number of both Christians and Muslims; the royal father opined that there was so much to be done in all sectors to bring succour to Nigerians. Politicians, he said should not encourage sentiments that did not promote patriotism and national unity.
He wondered why politics was being turned into war by the nation’s politicians and expressed delight over the signing of the peace and violence free elections pact by the presidential candidates of the two major political parties.
He however, said that in order to be meaningful the message should be transmitted down to the level of the ordinary people who should be cautioned against thuggery before, during and after the polls.
The Sultan expressed concern over the delay in issuing Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) to those yet to receive theirs, saying that he was among those who would be disenfranchised if the cards were not issued in time for the election.