The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday appealed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to back the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan in next month’s general elections.
The PDP said Obasanjo’s support was imperative because it was crucial for the president’s victory in the February 14 poll.
Obasanjo, who had engaged in war of words with the President in recent times, has since last year formally withdrawn active participation in the affairs of the ruling PDP. The former president was, however, absent from the MKO Abiola Stadium venue of yesterday’s President Jonathan’s campaign in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, did not also attend the rally.
Earlier, journalists who had besieged Obasanjo’s Hilltop Presidential Mansion in Abeokuta to await the planned visit by Jonathan to the former president’s residence were disappointed when the event did not hold.
Reporters who had kept vigil outside Obasanjo’s palatial mansion left in a hurry when it dawned on them that the meeting would not hold after all, and the news of Jonathan’s arrival at the venue of the campaign got to them.
Shortly before then, at about 2:59pm, a black jeep escorted by a security vehicle sneaked out of a gate said to be used by only the former president and headed to an unknown destination.
Within minutes, the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) deployed around Obasanjo’s mansion in anticipation of President Jonathan’s speculated visit were withdrawn.
But while addressing party supporters during the rally at the MKO Abiola Stadium, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, urged Obasanjo to throw his weight behind Jonathan in the February 14 election.
At the rally attended by leaders of the party at the national level, the South-West coordinator of the Goodluck-Sambo Campaign Organisation and Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel; the Chairman, Mobilization and Organisation Committee of the PDP in the South-West, Prince Buruji Kashamu; the National Auditor of the party, Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju, Mu’azu said as the first president produced by the PDP, Obasanjo who had laid the “solid foundation” upon which his successors had been building on, should at this crucial period, support the re-election of Jonathan for a second term.
“I know baba has laid a solid foundation on which his successors, one by one are building on and this foundation is solid. We appreciate his leadership, we appreciate his commitment, we thank him for his support and we call on him for his continuous support and prayers, especially at this point in time to support our president, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his bid, in our bid for the forthcoming election. One good thing the people of Ogun State deserve. One good turn deserves another.”
Mu’azu also appealed to the people of the state to cast their votes massively for President Jonathan and the PDP governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, in the forthcoming elections.
“I believe that all of you with no prejudice will commit yourselves, will dedicate yourselves to the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan for his second and final term as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Is that not so? I beg you to come out en masse to vote for our very humble, committed, dedicated, hardworking and result-oriented president, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan come 14th of February, 2015. I want to thank you for your commitment and dedication,” he said.
Isiaka, in his speech, commended the leadership of the party for confirming him as its standard bearer in the state. He assured that with people like him holding the reins of governance, the youths were set to properly play their role in the development of the state and Nigeria.
While addressing supporters at the rally, President Jonathan assured that if re-elected, his administration would create about two million jobs annually.
Jonathan said this had become imperative in order to absorb about 1.8 million graduates produced annually for the country’s labour market.
The President also said that his administration had through the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P) generated employment for the unemployed.
“Our target is to create two million jobs every year and with this development, we are going to have zero unemployment in the next years,” he added.
He also promised to address the challenges confronting the Nigerian youth so as to prepare them for leadership roles, pledging to also empower the women for national development.
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