From: TAIWO AMODU (who was in Akure)
The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) held its final state rally last Saturday at the Democracy Park Akure, Ondo State capital. It witnessed the presence of big players in the party and the central government.
With President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark, Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Henry Seriake Dickson, party national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and almost all members of the PDP National Working Committee in attendance.
No one was left in doubt that the battle to reclaim Ondo State, tagged, ‘Rescue 2012’ was a serious project for the party. But making President Jonathan to appear at the rally was an Herculean task, as it was achieved with subtle blackmail.
Daily Sun findings revealed that the party chieftains from South- west were complaining in hushed tones that President Goodluck Jonathan was indifferent to the mission of the party to unseat Governor Olusegun Mimmiko whom the former perceives as a reliable ally in the zone. A Daily Sun source revealed that President Jonathan believed it was pay back period for Mimmiko.
His party, Labour Party, under the leadership of Dan Nwayanwu, did not field any candidate in the last presidential election and had endorsed the PDP candidate while the Ondo State governor also encouraged the Ondo electorate to cast their votes for the PDP presidential candidate and incumbent president, Dr. Jonathan.
“Before this rally, it was difficult to disabuse minds of party supporters in Ondo State that President Jonathan wasn’t indifferent to the party quest to reclaim Ondo state. Those who saw what happened when the Vice-president, Architect Namadi Sambo led other leaders to Akure for a rally on 2nd October had formed the opinion that Jonathan was paying lip service to PDP Rescue 2012.’’
But the zonal executive of the party and certain stalwarts of the party in south-west, who saw next Saturday election as an opportunity to create a base for the party in the zone told the nationa leadership in clear terms that a dismal show in Ondo governorship election has a grievous implication, as the impression would be formed, ahead of 2015 that PDP coffin has finally been nailed in south-west. Speaking at the rally, former governor of the state, Dr. Segun Agagu and an ecstatic chairman of the party in Ondo State, Chief Ebenezer Alabi, spoke the minds of the party faithful. Agagu thanked President Jonathan for coming, along with his home state governor, Seriake Dickson and the Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Rotimi Amaechi.
“All our people are here. The Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Amaechi is here, the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is here, the governor of the state of Mr. President, Seriake Dickson is here. Mr. President, we thank you for the support you have been giving us, we appreciate it. We thank you for the support you have been giving our party in the state. “For the past three years, our people have been suffering; we have been producing graduates without jobs, our market women have no stalls.
By the grace of God, your suffering will stop on October 20. A new dawn shall emerge in this state; so shall it be.’’ The state party chairman in his remarks, refuted insinuations that President Jonathan has been giving support to the incumbent Governor and Labour Party candidate, Segun Mimmiko, as against his party candidate, Barrister Olusola Oke. “Ondo is the cradle of Nigeria politics and that’s why it is strategic to PDP.
What we are seeing here today is the resolve of our people to change the sitting governor; they are here to demonstrate that come, 20th October, they will troop out to vote for the only candidate we have, Barrisiter Olusola Oke.
“A lot of rumour has been going on that the President isn’t supporting our candidate. He has demonstrated to us today that he is with us, as leader of the party. Mr. President, we are grateful.’’ Senate President, David Mark assured the party supporters that the PDP would go to the polls on Saturday, as one family, as he vowed that the mistakes of the past would be corrected on Saturday. “Looking at faces here, I see the youth.
When I look at faces of youth, I know that Olusola Oke has won already. “What PDP would give to Ondo and has been doing, is the environment to do free and fair election. Ondo belongs to PDP and the mistakes of the past shall be corrected on October 20. Please, make sure you protect your votes; after voting, monitor the counting. Our president will not allow them to rig.’’ President Jonathan in his remarks, assured the electorate in the state that his administration would ensure conduct of free and fair election, just as it did in Edo state.
He warned those trying to foment trouble in the state during the forthcoming exercise to stay away. ‘I was told some people are planning to bring thugs. Don’t worry yourself; the federal government shall not allow any thug. If you know that your sons will be used as thugs, carry them away. Nobody will allow thuggery; we shall ensure free and fair election.”
He also called on the people of the State to vote PDP, in order to benefit massively from the central government agricultural policy. ‘We are here today, to tell you how we love you, how we want the state to grow and how Nigeria will grow. Ondo is very lucky, it is blessed in two ways: blessed with oil and farming. What else do you want? It is good government. The federal government is working hard to make our farmers rich. If you work for PDP, we shall make you rich farmers.
We shall work with your governor to be,” Jonathan assured the party faithful. Tension over fund paucity Even as the party stalwarts went home impressed with turnout at the rally, a member of the party, Senator Bode Olajumoke expressed concern that it might be difficult for PDP to galvanise people to vote for it next Saturday. Speaking with newsmen at the venue of the rally, Senator Olajumoke identified paucity of fund as a potent, inhibiting factor. “
All over the world, money play critical factor… You look at the teeming masses here. How do we convert this crowd into electoral votes for us? There must be enough fund, because on the election day, I wouldn’t be all over the eighteen local government and of course, people would need money to run elections. “We have two formidable opponents: the incumbent government and you have the powerful ACN, with its resources, all over the place and they are going to bring a lot of resources. So, PDP also need to have enough financial muscle,’’ Olajumoke told newsmen in Akure.