The Minister of Defence, Adetokunbo Kayode, speaks on the chances of President Goodluck Jonathan in the next presidential election. According to him,Jonathan Goodluck is the destination for this country and he has no doubt in that the presidential election will be on the basis of President Goodluck Jonathan versus every other candidate.
The Action Congress of Nigeria recently accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of voting N2.9 billion to capture the Southwest in the forthcoming election. How far is this statement true?
It is a mere campaign of calumny against the president. The ACN leaders have been launching verbal attacks on the president at various fora, making unfounded insinuations.
PDP did not vote any amount for the purpose of capturing any section of the country. PDP will defeat every party fair and square. The issue of capture does not arise.
The idea of insulting the president by the leaders of the ACN is alien to the Yoruba tradition and it is totally uncalled for. It has nothing to do with the age. This is a number one person in the country; he deserves all the respect even from the oldest person in the country. It is a matter of the position he is occupying.
I am looking forward to the ACN leaders, especially Bola Tinubu, to withdraw the abusive words credited to him in the media against the president and apologies on behalf of his party. I know the president will not join issues with him. The president spoke in Ibadan at one of his rallies and extolled the qualities of the Yoruba sons and daughters in the areas of education, industry, agriculture, among others, and commended them for keeping the dreams and visions of the late Obafemi Awolowo alive.
He appealed to them to get the states back from the opposition, to the main stream politics so that they could consolidate their leadership position from the centre. The plan of Awolowo was to make the Yoruba nation great within Nigeria by providing leadership. He never wanted Yoruba to be in the opposition.
The PDP is facing a lot of crises in the Southwest, Do you think the party will win the presidential elections in the Southwest despite series of internal crises?
There were pockets of crises within the party in the Southwest, especially before the party primaries but this was not peculiar to PDP alone. The ACN itself is enmeshed in crises even in states like Ekiti, Osun and Lagos where it was believed to be enjoying massive supports.
Political crises will happen but every party has its internal mechanisms for resolving them and everybody knows that many parties did not do primaries because they were afraid of conflicts. The ACN did that. Party members protested against the ACN strategy of selecting their candidates in all the states where they claimed to have a stronghold.
All the pockets of crises, recorded then, would not affect the outcome of the presidential election because we have a highly prized candidate, and the PDP had started resolving its internal crisis. The greatest advantage we have is that all other parties have no viable candidates and they know this. Buhari could do well in one or two states, Shekarau in one state but the PDP will have a comfortable majority. Jonathan will defeat every other aspirants based on the democratic agenda of one-man, one-vote because it was his idea. No candidate could win election where he does not have supporters or where he is not known. If you have not impacted on people’s lives, you cannot win.
Are you saying that party politics will have little or no impact in the forthcoming presidential election?
Party politics will be a vehicle to deliver the candidates but don’t forget that the vehicle is not the same thing as the destination.
You use the vehicle to move to your destination. So ultimately, Goodluck is the destination for this country and I have no doubt in my mind that the presidential election will be on the basis of President Goodluck Jonathan versus every other candidate.
He has been recognised and promoted; it is obvious that the Southwest will vote enmasse for Goodluck and they would hope for a good government from him and I have no doubt in my mind that he would deliver for the Southwest. He knows what the Southwest wants.
He knows our pedigree in education, industry, and leadership and this is what we need to focus on. There are many things that need to be done in the Southwest.
There are many challenges: Infrastructure, new roads that would open up the zone to other areas in the country are being planned by the Jonathan government while the existing ones are now being rehabilitated. The rail system that will pass through the Southwest is also being carried out. The rail from Lagos enroute Ibadan to Osogbo towards Jebba is being rehabilitated.
On power, just about two weeks ago, the Olorunsogo power plant was handed over to the operators. The phase II of the Omotoso power plant is being completed. Recently, a federal university was established in Ekiti State and five other states. If the people of Ekiti and Ondo State don’t vote for Goodluck Jonathan, who will they vote for? Will they vote for Buhari? What has Buhari done for them? Will they vote for Nuhu Ribadu? They don’t even know him.
Though Ribadu is our friend, but the truth is that he is completely out of his league in this election. Talk of Shekarau, we know him as a good governor but he is also out of his league. These people are like fish out of water in this very ocean that we are now. The real voyage, the king of the ocean right now, is Goodluck.
Jonathan was a Deputy President, he was Acting President and he has been President of this country for close to one year now, do you think he has achieved much to qualify him for the position?
The alternative is that who will you pick? Is it Buhari who has not done anything in the last 20 years? Or is it Nuhu Ribadu, who we know has no experience in public service and we can tell him to his face what he has done at the EFCC or is it Shekarau that nobody even knows around here? Or who else? There are only three candidates contesting this election with Jonathan. Others just wanted their names mentioned in the newspapers.
The president as Vice-President, Acting President and even as President can boast of ensuring that the constitution of Nigeria is working. He did that. The circumstances that moved him from the Vice President to Acting President and then, President, followed the constitutional means.
He did not hijack power. We need to understand the depth of the constitutional challenges that we had last year when our late president was ill and he did not sign any paper, handing over power to Jonathan. But he, as the vice president, did not rush to hijack power.
This would have caused a big constitutional crisis but he took it calmly. He made sure that the law was followed and there was a smooth transition when the late president eventually died. That was the first and most critical test of the validity and efficacy of our constitution.
He did what he had to do, keep the country together to ensure stability of the polity because every developmental strategy of any government is hinged on the stability in the country. That is a monumental achievement.
Look at what is happening in Egypt today. Look at Libya, and Tunisia now. If there is no political stability, you cannot start talking about roads, foods, electricity, because there would be chaos and everybody will be looking for a way of escape to safer areas.
On education, he discovered that some states had two federal institutions, some had one while others don’t even have at all. He took up this matter up and ensured fairness in that regard. He saw the need to treat ourselves equally. This is an injustice that has been going on for the past 30 years.
On power, late Yar’Adua promised to declare emergency in the power sector but because of his illness, he could not do that.
But immediately Jonathan was sworn in, he took over the power master plan, launched it and began the implementation. Special funding has been provided, that is why he could complete Olorunsogo and began the second phase of the Omotoso power plant, among others.
The East West Road which is connecting Lagos with Bayelsa, passes through Ogun, Ondo, Edo and Delta States has been awarded.
The project has been on before independence. A lot of work is going on there now. Different contractors are handling the different construction works going on there. He is also working on the second Niger Bridge.
He is tackling the problem of erosion challenges in Anambra State. The only thing is that he does not believe in using media hype to showcase or celebrate his achievements but they are there for everybody to see. In spite of the security challenges facing the country, he has been able to keep all the zones together. He employed experience and competence to achieve this and will still do a lot more.
By Abimbola Ayobami
Source: NEXT on line