‘Monarchs won’t betray Yoruba for Jonathan’
Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola is the Southwest Coordinator of the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Organisation. He told ABIODUN FANORO how the All Progressive Congress (APC) would win Saturday’s elections.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s visits to Southwest monarchs
THERE is no doubt about the political choice of the Yoruba race. We revere our traditional rulers without any doubt, and if you look at it, no person of the president’s status would request for a visit and be denied of such request.
So, on that score alone, one will understand the basis for the reception accorded him by the Obas; it is a reception that is really formal.
I do not see the political capital or gain for him if after six years in the saddle, there is nothing worthy of mention as the contribution of the administration, which he heads today. Is it physical development, economic growth and the social uplifting of the people? I think it was good entertainment for political observers to see the gyrations of those who are actually on the horses; the expectation from such a visit baffles me.
These stakeholders being met are not those that could really turn political fortunes around for the president. Should they even have such influence, for their own dignity, what would be the basis for wanting to so do?
Our Obas are dignified and respected, and they will never betray their people because of political expediency or monetary inducement.
APC’s plan to counter the voyage
APC is so strong here in the Southwest that any response to this putative effort will amount to nothing. This is nothing; it is not even a storm in the teacup. It is just a voyage of convenience without any importance at all. So, it won’t be appropriate to dignify it with a response or action.
On Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC)’s endorsement of Jonathan
First, let me disabuse the mind of the public and particularly my people in the Southwest region that those heavily-armed youths who marched through some streets in Lagos were not the true youths of Yoruba race, neither were they true members of the OPC. True sons and daughters of the Yoruba race are called Omoluwabi.
There is nowhere you will see Omoluwabi Yoruba armed with dangerous weapons, terrorizing the people and endangering their peace. If you have observed very well you would notice that there were so many non-Yoruba people among the protesters. Among them you had some popular actors from the South-south and the Southeast.
Our findings also revealed that the protesters were drawn from members of the FERMA (Federal Roads Maintenance Agency) cadets recruited by the PDP deceitfully for the purpose of giving them job but the truth is that they are to be used as agents of destabilization. They were those that were deployed that day. You remember when Musliu Obanikoro was protesting the alleged rigging of his governorship primary in favour of Jimi Agbaje, he made reference to the fact that the Chief Bode George’s group which is behind Agbaje, used FERMA cadets to destabilize the primary.
This does not in any way pose a threat to APC in the Southwest; we are going to win the region convincingly. Our people know that we are working in their interest. We have judiciously deployed and used the resources they put in our care to improve their welfare.
That is why today we have the courage to come to them not with cutlasses and guns or with intimidation; but with another round of pledges and promises as contained in our manifestoes; to ask for their votes.
What is however of great concern to us as a party and as a people is the fact that President Jonathan who is the Commander-in-Chief could watch as soldiers and men of the Nigeria Police supervised youths carrying live ammunitions not only terrorizing the peace of the city, but endorsing him.
This is where our fear lies; that APC would massively defeat President Jonathan in the Southwest is not in contention. Our fear is for the safety and security of our people with the presence of armed gang like this.
What APC and civilized people had expected the president to do is to immediately turn down the endorsement from an armed gang as a true lover of peace and as a leader who truly believes in the sanctity of the constitution he has sworn to uphold.
It is very unfortunate that the president has not condemned the action of these youths wielding live ammunitions while endorsing him.
This is no doubt novel in the politics of the Southwest and this is why the APC has decided to take the matter to the International Criminal Court, because this could be a dress rehearsal of what they would come with on the day of election.
On why defeated APC presidential aspirants are not visible in the Buhari campaigns
It is because everybody is working in his respective offices and stations. Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso is busy mobilizing in Kano. The votes of Kano are almost equal to that of a whole zone. I won’t mention any zone here. It is enough for him to be saddled with that engagement. And in all our major gatherings, he and other aspirants have been quite visible.
The party is solid and united for the epic battle coming up on March 28, which we are quite hopeful of winning by the grace of God.
Nobody could also deny the fact that Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, another APC presidential aspirant has been working relentlessly for the success of the party particularly in the Southeast and in Lagos State where there is a sizeable chunk of Ibo people.
On rumour that Atiku may go back to PDP
There is no iota of truth in that. It is just a rumour from the PDP rumour and propaganda mill. Atiku remains one of the pillars that hold the APC and he is solidly behind the party. Nobody is more desirous of change than him.
After our presidential primary, he has been attending most of the party’s leadership meetings as well as all other strategic meetings called to review the campaigns and to draw new ones.
Atiku’s meeting with Jonathan
The truth of the matter is that it is the president, out of desperation to remain in power at all cost, that is looking for the former Vice-president because of his political weight, especially in the north and in some other parts of the country. Remember that Atiku was already on his bed sleeping, only for him to be woken up by the president.
While that was on, the PDP was also busy working on another strategy of promoting a propaganda to deceive Nigerians that all is not well within the Atiku political family when it assembled some faceless impostors who claimed they were decamping from the Atiku camp to the PDP.
To show the world that he has nothing to hide and that he is a firm believer in the APC, the former VP came into the open in his interview with Sahara Reporter, to tell all that transpired at the night meeting.
The former VP, as a true party leader, a patriot, a builder and a democrat, immediately after the primary collapsed his political and campaign structures into the Buhari/Osibanjo team in demonstration of his unflinching loyalty to the party and commitment to its presidential aspiration. The result of this is what all of us are enjoying in the good performance of the Campaign’s Directorate of Media and Publicity, headed by Shehu Garba who is from the Atiku political family.