In the last three weeks, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC have engaged each other in war of words in a bid to canvass for votes in the February general elections.
Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan led other party stalwarts to Akure, the Ondo State capital to campaign for votes.
The event which was earlier scheduled for last week, but for the defection of some PDP leaders following some irreconcilable differences especially against the backdrop of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party, LP who returned to his former PDP, had to be rescheduled for last Wednesday.
Speaking at the rally after former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi; governor Mimiko; Director- General, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PCO, Dr. Ahmadu Ali; the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku; the Chief of Staff to the President; former PDP Governorship candidate and ex-National Legal Adviser of PDP, Chief Olusola Oke; Vice President Namadi Sambo; PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu had spoken, President Goodluck Jonathan stressed the need for all the stakeholders, leaders in Ondo state to bury the hatchet in the interest of the party.
The President who urged them to drop their personal agenda for the overall interest of the state, and the party, said state has the record of providing progressive leadership in the person of late governor Michael Ajasin, activists like late Gani Fayehinmi, SAN, among others.
President Jonathan who told the mammoth crowd that although there were issues but was optimistic that they would be nipped in the bud ahead of next month’s general election. He stated that all party members must be prepared to sacrifice personal interest for the interest of the state, just as he pleaded with business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim and Chief Olusola Oke to work in unison with governor Mimiko irrrespective of the grievances and differences.
According to him, “for the PDP family, I use this platform to state that we have to work hard to make sure that Jimoh Ibrahim and the governor join hands together in the interest of the state.
“Mimiko, Ibrahim and Oke, three of them must sit down to discuss the development of the state. They must not sit down to discuss personal things or individual interests. They must work together to make sure that collectively, we attain the development of the state and the nation at large,” he said.
Also speaking with some Journalists on the need for peace and support for President Jonathan, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, disclosed that President Jonathan has assured the Afenifere leaders that the recommendations of the National Conference would be implemented and that peace had returned to the party with leaders, stakeholders ready to bury the hatchet to ensure the victory of the President and the PDP next month, adding that some corrections must be made where the original members of PDP before Governor Mimiko returned, must be carried along if there must be true and genuine reconciliation.
He boasted that his blood, everything was for the re-election of President Jonathan and ready to sacrifice anything at his disposal, even as he was very much optimistic that the president will win the election landslide.
Kuku said, “For me, my ultimate goal is the development of this state and the ultimate ultimate is Jonathan, I can give him and I have given him everything except my life.”
On the crisis in the party in the state, he said, “The President has assured the leaders who feel aggrieved that after the victory, he will not forget them. We all agreed that there are some of our leaders that the coming of the governor has affected their political calculations.”
On the peace move, he said, “The peace process I have been leading is meant to benefit all of us including Mimiko. Most fears being entertained are based on life after election. We know that the integration is truly very difficult and it is difficult from the angle of the old PDP but we are moving and we will be there. The governor has agreed to open up his government to accommodate the old PDP members even up to the level of the State Executive Council. We cannot be tired. We must beg them and quickly move some of those that have left the party back. The party is strong and it can only be stronger.
“The last meeting which I hosted saw our party faithful agreeing that they are not leaving the party for anybody. The only politician we have lost in the old PDP is Victor Olabimtan. Femi Agagu and others do not have political relevance. But there is no doubt that the coming of the governor has added value to PDP,” he stated.
Speaking on the appointment of Campaign Coordinator in Ondo state, Kuku said: “it is normal for Mimiko to appoint an old PDP man as the state coordinator of Jonathan Campaign, it would have been an opportunity to further integrate the people. The person that was appointed, Tokunbo Modupe is my friend and I have told him to reject it, the governor should remove him and give additional hope to the old PDP. Give it to either our former state chairman, Ebenezer Alabi, who had to resign for peace to reign in the party or Chief Olusola Oke. The appointment negates the spirit of reconciliation. But if that is not done, we will still go ahead to work for our party.”
On the candidacy, he said, “INEC has published names of candidates and we have some people in court, but my stand is that the two groups should work for the party to ensure that the party wins. You don’t work for the candidates of other parties out of anger, if at the end of the day, the other party wins and those that work for them in anger are eventually recognised by law, then they will have nobody to replace. Mimiko came with about 70 percent of the old LP and we have 80 per cent of the old PDP, it is a good omen, the only problem is that the defection of the governor came too close to election period, if he had come earlier, the integration would have been smoother. This will not affect the chances of the president in the state, all we plan for is to ensure that the APC does not have 25 percent of the total votes in Ondo State.