Jonathan visits Awujale, vows to implement confab report
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan continued his South West campaign with a visit yesterday to the monarch of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, and his chiefs in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, where he assured that if re-elected, his administration would implement the recommendations of the National Conference “to the latter.”
He told his guests, however, that the implementation is a joint responsibility of the National Assembly and the Executive, adding: “That is one of the reasons we are praying that at the end of the elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should have control of the two arms of government (Assembly and Executive) so that we will be able to implement it.”
In Lagos, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told youths in the country not to despair, pledging a better Nigeria if elected President.
He also urged Nigerians to resist any further attempt to postpone the elections scheduled for March 28 and April 11, 2015.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega has declared that the attitude of political parties and their candidates will make or mar the peaceful conduct of the polls.
The electoral umpire also reiterated that the expectation of the international community was for Nigeria to get it right during the elections.
President Jonathan enumerated his government’s achievements in the past six years to include revival of the railway system and massive road infrastructure, while his government also recorded great feats in the health, agriculture, aviation and tourism sectors.
He assured that if reelected, his administration would consider the completion of the multi-billion naira Iwopian Paper Mill, sited in Ijebuland, which has been abandoned by successive governments for the past 30 years.
Earlier, Oba Adetona and his chiefs had demanded from Jonathan the creation of Ijebu State and completion of the Iwopin Paper Mill, among others. They also told the President that Ijebuland lacked Federal Government presence and development.
He also added that it was ‘impossible’ for any Yoruba king to canvass votes for any candidate during elections.
His words: “In Ijebuland here, it is not possible for any Oba, not even in Ijebu alone, but in Yorubaland, to go out and say vote for this candidate or that, that person (king) is courting trouble, but give them (candidates) the opportunity to present their programmes so that people can make up their minds on what to do, I think this is a very sound democratic principle and that is what I have decided to do, to give you the opportunity of meeting with the people.”
Jonathan told his audience: “Within the past four years, we have tried as a government. You know government cannot complete all projects within a four-year period. In the education section, too, we have tried across the country.”
He further explained why some people think his administration had not achieved much: “The problem of Federal Government system is that Nigeria is a very vast country and you may do much and some part of the country may not even notice what you’re doing, but we’ve done quite well.
Buhari stressed that timely, free and fair election is key to protecting the nation’s democracy, even as there is no constitutional provision for frivolous shifts in elections date.
The candidate, who addressed students and youths in the southwest, at a town hall meeting in Lagos yesterday, said the whole idea of this election is to “save and rescue” the country from the current economic free fall, insecurity and high unemployment.
Buhari said that Nigerians must be aware that the current competition in the polity is already getting out hands, with all manner of ploy to resist “change.”
He added: “It is a question of saving the country from free fall. I have not come here to make promises to you, but to tell you that we have a duty to save our nation. And that is what March 28 and April 11 election dates are all about. No Nigeria should accept any postponement because there is no constitutional provision for postponement”.