THE battle promises to be and grueling and the opposition will not be ready to shift grounds easily. So, all arsenals in the war bag may have to be used if victory which is the ultimate aim must be won.
So, the battle for the seat of the President in Aso Rock come next year will not be for the lily livered, but for those who have set their priorities right and ready to take on the challenge.
As different parts of the country puts heads together to decide on who they should queue behind for the battle ahead, just like some leaders of the North have decided on former vice President Atiku Abubakar to get their support for the race, the support for the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has continued to soar by the day.
Just as the Ohanaeze Indigbo recently threw their weight behind the Bayelsa born scientist, other regions are also rising to the occasion to declare their support for him, even some key states in the North, so the battle promises to be interesting, more so because the ticket for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seem to be getting all the attention.
But, why some Northern leaders are just thinking about displacing Jonathan for the ticket, some sections of the country and prominent are already looking beyond the PDP ticket and working out strategies on how the President will not only get the party’s ticket, but also go ahead to win the election.
That is why when last weekend, Minister for Defense, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) decided to launch the campaign in another way in the South-West, beginning from his hometown of Ikaram Akoko, Ondo State, not a few people stood behind him and the project.
The launch of the outdoor campaign also coincided with the first anniversary of the demise of the minister’s father who was the first chairman of the PDP in Akoko land.
While unveiling the gigantic billboard which is the first among others which will include 40 sheet boards, 48 super sheet boards, 16 sheet boards, 4 sheet boards and massive unipole to be located in strategic locations in major towns and communities of Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states, Kayode said the Goodluck story would be told in every nook and cranny of all communities in the South-West.
His words: “That is a snapshot of the man, the leader for whom we are all gathered to witness the take-off of the campaign to bring him back to Aso Rock, now in his own right and as our exemplary leader.”
“The Goodluck story would be told in every nook and cranny of all communities in the South-West, from Ikaram to Owena, to Gbongon, to Atijere, to Ode-Aye, to Idi-Ayunre, to Ode-Omu, to Ipetumodu, to Ibafo, and to all the furthermost communities in this zone.
Thanking the party leaders from across the state for making out time to be at the event, the minister said: “I regard this event and the distinguished gathering of PDP faithfuls, followers, supporters, invited guests, well wishers and citizens of Ikaram-Akoko, as well as members from neighbouring communities in Akokoland and otherparts of Ondo State including the adjoining states that make up the South-West region of our party and our nation, as a tremendous personal honour and privilege to utilize the first memorial of my father’s memorial to flag-off our massive presidential outdoor campaign of our dear President Goodluck Jonathan in the South-West zone of Nigeria.”
He noted that his community bears a striking resemblance to President Jonathan’s homestead, that both communities are part of rural Nigeria which constitute 70 per cent of where most Nigerians come from, adding: “Jonathan grew up in a rural community like Ikaram, where daily survival was tough and eking out a living in the fishing community for his parents and siblings was due to a of luck, hard work, persistence and God’s providence.”
“He persevered and soldiered on because his parents believed in his precocious talents and intelligence which he had exhibited and demonstrated from his youth wherein he excelled in school despite the distances he had to trek daily to and from the community where his school was located.
“Goodluck Jonathan persevered, his parents believed and God approved and that is why he is our President today.
“My people in Ikaram and the people of the South-West have a saying that state, eni to kan lo mo; which translates thus; ‘He who feels it knows it’ and succinctly sums up the Goodluck Jonathan story, and that is why he wants to rule this our nation again and ensure that our children and their children’s children would not go through the harrowing experiences he had to go through and endure, just to get an education and improve the quality of life of his family and community,” he said.
According to him, the combination of Goodluck and Sambo, a scientist and an Architect, both of them bridge builders, “who are themselves even bridges across the divides of this country, the country can be sure of a better future.
He however added that the future of the child in the North if not allowed to go the Goodluck/Sambo way, will not have any hope and that such a child will end up being Almajiris, being used as Boko Haram, “the child here, if not allowed to go the right way, if not allowed to go the Goodluck/Sambo way, will end up being an area boy. The future of that young man who can virtually multiply any figure in his head because he has that gift, but has no opportunity at all to express that gift must be assured.”
“The future of the child who must go to school where there is ICT now, because that is the way of the future must be guaranteed and that is what Goodluck/Sambo stands for and I stand committed to that, I believe in that combination and I want it to be very clear to my people, I want it to be very clear to all the people of Ondo State, all the people of the South-West and all the people of Nigeria and that is where I stand.
The minister who is providing free health services to the people of his community through his ministry also spoke about his reason for embarking on the service and other services aimed at improving the lives of the members of his community, including paying WAEC/SSCE examination fees for all student qualified to write the examination every year beginning from this year
He also spoke about his motivation; “I have this abiding interest in helping them at home, whether children or old people and I think I am linking up with them and I do this for the community, it has nothing to do with politics and I don’t care whether they are from this party or that party, because these are my people and ultimately these are our people.”
“That is the underlining issue and that is why I have also said that for every child that will do School Certificate Examination (SSCE/WASC) in this community and those around here for the next years, beginning from this year, I will pay all their money.
“I have done the calculation and it is not really that expensive, there are so many things we in the cities waste a lot of money on and if we just tighten our belts here and there we can actually afford this and I want to encourage all other people around here who are in a position to do this, it doesn’t have to be big, you can just make a gesture and it is that gesture that is important, so I want people ultimately to remember that I care for the youths, for their education and also care for the health and welfare of the people.
He however would not be dragged into talking about the cost of the program, because according to him, it is not aimed at gaining any form of popularity, “What I have found out is that it is very easy for those who want cheap popularity and publicity to say I am putting in N5million or N10million into this and that project. What I know is that I have done the calculation, I know that there are not more than 200 children who will do school certificate in this entire area, Erisu, Ibaram, Ikaram, Iyani, Ase, Eregede, they are not more than 200, I think we can survive.”
“The same thing with the School of Nursing. I have done my plan, it is already laid out, and I have a rough idea how it can done, even in building it, I intend to empower the youths, because I will set up a small block industry there where the young boys will be doing the work and I have insisted that all the supplies must be done from this area so that they can key into the program, so it is going to be a gradual thing, even though I want to do it without stop.
“I do not plan to buy anything, like a new car or a new suit or a new agbada until I finish this project, whatever it is, I believe I will have the wherewithal to round it up, but I also have friends who will key into it, I also have international friends and being in office also helps you in so many ways, it helps you to make a lot of friends and have synergy with people who can assist you, especially when you are interested in helping your community,” he said.
He however advised his people to queue behind him in the support for the Jonathan/Sambo ticket, because he has seen that if the project is actualized it will have tremendous impact on the people, the community, the state, the South-West and the entire nation
“My people knows where I am, they know my stand and I made that point earlier, I stand for the Goodluck/Sambo ticket, I stand for the Goodluck/Sambo development and I think they need it more than any other thing, this is not the time for cheap politics, this is time for real politics and good politics means that you have to vote for and support those who you know will better your lot,” he said.