By Eromo Egbejule
It was a mammoth crowd yesterday that welcomed President Goodluck Jonathan to Lagos yesterday even as there was traffic gridlock in strategic parts of the city.
Jonathan was in Lagos to attend the ‘Unity rally’ organized by the People’s Democratic Party in the South-West, spearheaded by Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musuliu Obanikoro.
Hundreds of supporters of the minister and other PDP faithful thronged Tafawa Balewa Square, venue of the rally, singing victory songs.
While addressing those gathered, Jonathan urged Lagosians to reelect the party in 2015, stressing that the party would not neglect its duties towards the common man. He called for a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the collapse of The Synagogue Church of All Nations building last week, at Ikotun, Lagos.
Among those who accompanied Jonathan were Vice-President Namadi Sambo; PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and other chieftains of the party.
While Jonathan was cheered on by the crowd, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu and other top members of the party told the crowd the President deserved a second term.
In his speech, the President who was adopted as PDP’s 2015 presidential candidate, thanked the leadership of the party for choosing him as its candidate.
Adding that he had the right to refuse the offer, Jonathan said the decision to endorse him for the 2015 presidency was made by the party and that no member of the PDP could dictate who became what in the party.
He said, “I also have the right of refusal and I thank the party for giving me the opportunity. The idea of the rally is for us to come together; for us to see our faces and for us to dance and clap together, so that we will know that we all belong to one political party; the largest political party in Africa.”
At the Lagos rally, President Jonathan reeled out his achievements. He said he had established a Presidential Jobs Board and that the board would “ create three million jobs in the next one year. That means in a few years, we would solve the problem of unemployment.”
The President also scored his government high on the provision of infrastructure, as well as construction and rehabilitation of roads and railways.
He said his government had created opportunities for Nigerians to participate in the oil sector more than ever before.
He also thanked the leaders of the PDP in the South-West for winning Ekiti State governorship election, saying the party was working hard to win in all states in the zone.
He said, “I thank Ekiti people for returning the state to the PDP. There is no single PDP state in the South-West, yet you remained committed. We thank you for that position and surely you will be rewarded. We are here to bring our members together but we will surely return for campaign. When you are in Lagos, you are addressing the whole country because all Nigerians are represented here.
“We continue to promise to transform Nigeria; make changes and never go back. We need all Nigerians to work with us. In the next few years, unemployment will continue to drop. We are totally committed to changing all sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
Speaking at the event, Mu’azu said all members of the party were committed to Jonathan’s second term bid and that it was a reward for the President’s “achievements in the first term.”
He said, “We choose Lagos for this rally because it is the most populated and hosts most of the economic activities in the country. It is to reflect our unity in the South-West and as a result of the unity, we have started recovering our states in the South-West. And in 2015, we will win more states.
“Everybody knows that the PDP controls the majority of the people in the South-West. Therefore, we are saying in 2015, we will take over more states in the South-West.
“Mr. President, we want to assure you that because your first term has been so transforming, by the grace of God, people of South-West and the people of Nigeria will reward you in 2015 by re-electing you as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
South-West sensitisation rally organised by the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos was used as an opportunity to make a strong case for his reelection come 2015.