‘Why I set up independent campaign group for Jonathan’


Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, former Minister of State for Defence, while inaugurating the Independent Campaign Group for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election, frowned at the clamp down on the opposition, especially the removal of their posters by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Lagos State. Seye Olumide reports.

On the setting up of a campaign group for President Jonathan

I SET up the Lagos Independent Presidential Campaign Group for President Jonathan to deepen the president’s presence in the state and take his message directly to the people. 

  There is a lot of misinformation going on and a critical way to counter that is through grassroots mobilisation.

On President Jonathan winning the election

  I have no doubt in my mind that the president will win. It is going to be a close election, but I have no doubt in my mind that at the end, the president will carry the day. 

  However, from the distribution and collection of PVCs, it is clear that the APC wants to rig in the North. 

  With Borno and Yobe States, despite the dislocation occasioned by insurgency, recording 80 per cent collection, the APC is setting the stage to write election results. 

  I am more convinced about this because their candidate is not a known democrat; so, he doesn’t mind doing or condoning whatever it takes to win. He has no history of promoting the rule of law.

Outbreak of violence after the presidential elections

  I hope not this time, and that is why I am happy about the peace accord signed by Buhari. Let’s not forget that it is his silence that escalated the violence we are witnessing today.   

  After his loss in 2011, his followers went on rampage and he kept quiet. This degenerated into the activities of Boko Haram. 

  Prior to that, the activities of Boko Haram were not as deadly as they became after the 2011 elections.

On Jimi Agbaje’s chances in the gubernatorial election in Lagos State

  I am confident, with the feedback I am getting with an average person on the street of Lagos, that they are clamouring for a change that will end one man’s control over our resources.   

  They are clamouring for a government that will invest in education, as a way to end the slavery in our state. 

  Just recently, Lagos State Government placed a N10,000 fee on children sitting for JSS 3 exams. This is wicked and grossly insensitive on the part of a government that promised to give hope to the hopeless. 

  When education is no longer affordable, how can the people have hope? So, I am confident that the mood of Lagos State at this time favours the victory and emergence of Jimi Agbaje as the next governor, and we are putting in everything legitimately possible to make this dream a reality.

Level-playing ground for the campaigns in Lagos

  Not at all! The APC government in Lagos is not concerned about democracy. They are trying to kill the opposition in Lagos while we have created space for the opposition at the center. 

  In Lagos, they are hiding under LASAA to deprive us, the opposition, a voice. In today’s Lagos, an average person cannot contemplate running for office because of the huge cost of running a campaign. 

  This is what they are doing consistently, to ensure only their posters and billboards are out there. This is a recipe for unnecessary crisis because when you remove other candidates’ signposts, billboards and posters, they on their own can retaliate and this can lead to violence. 

  I believe people deserve to know what the opposition is saying and put it side by side with what the APC is saying. 

  On another level, the APC campaign has been largely crisis-ridden. Recently, three people were killed in Shomolu during one of their campaigns. They have also officially christened their thugs, TEAM LAGOS and they have bought lots of deadly weapons that they want to use on Lagosians. 

  I think it is time for the police to begin to beam their searchlight on these people.

Propagandas as instrument of campaign

  A lot of mudslinging and misrepresentation have been made of the Jonathan’s administration. People are trying to sell blue as white to Nigerians. We cannot afford to go backward. 

  What we are expecting are brighter days that the Jonathan/Sambo administration will bring, and not darker days. 

  The change (APC) they are selling is backward change. That is why we are putting all energy to ensure victory for Jonathan and Agbaje in Lagos. The best thing that can happen in Lagos is to have Jonathan and Agbaje at the centre and in Lagos. 

     He said that if PDP takes over power in Lagos it would give the state more edge and more advantages. It will help the state to move forward more and get more support at the centre without antagonising the Federal Government to the detriment of the people of Lagos. 

  The best thing for Nigeria is to stay with Jonathan. It’s either we embrace the future or go back to the trenches, as we inch closer to the elections.


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