President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s campaign train wednesday berthed in the populous city of Kano, where he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi (II).
Jonathan, who immediately after his arrival at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport proceeded to the emir’s place, expressed gratitude for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage.
He also condoled the emir on the death of the late emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, saying, “I am condoling you and the emirate over the death of the late emir. I am also congratulating you for this position as the Emir of Kano, being my first time to visit Kano since you assumed the throne.”
Also soliciting the support of the emir with whom he had a fractious relationship when he was in charge of the CBN and later fired, Jonathan added, “I am here to seek your royal blessing and to reassure the people of Kano that PDP is totally committed to developing the country.”
In his response, Sanusi said the emirate has no political affiliation with any of the parties, stressing that its major concern was sustainable peace and the security of lives and property in the state.
Sanusi said the emirate was praying for the peaceful conduct of next month’s general election and appealed to the electorate to eschew any form of violence, while also urging the government to redouble its efforts at overcoming the security challenges facing the country.
He called on politicians to conduct their business in peace and avoid bloodshed, noting that democracy was all about choice.
Sanusi appealed to the electorate to accept the verdict of the election and rally round whoever emerges the winner.
He expressed delight that government was doing all that was necessary to provide permanent voters’ cards (PVC) so that all eligible Nigerians could exercise their franchise.
During the campaign rally held at the Kano polo ground, the president could not hide his feelings at the mammoth crowd that received him and promised to boost economic growth in Kano through intervention programmes in education, agriculture, commerce and industry.
Addressing the people at the rally, Jonathan expressed his appreciation for the warm reception by the people of Kano, saying, “This crowd that has come to receive us just before prayer time is overwhelming.
“Let me use this occasion to appreciate the northern youths for donating N2 million personally and on behalf of the vice-president to our nomination forms. The donation was made in Kano and we have to use this opportunity to thank all of you for that.
“Let us use this opportunity to also express our condolences to you for the death of our former emir, Ado Bayero, and also to congratulate you for successfully crowning the next emir of this great city and this emirate. “At this occasion, let us remember some of our great sons and daughters that worked very hard to lead this country. One is the great Murtala Muhammad, Malam Aminu Kano and other great leaders who worked tirelessly for Nigeria.”
Jonathan informed the crowd that the cornerstone of his campaign in Kano was the basic empowerment of the youths and women in the commercial nerve centre of the North.
He also acknowledged the role being played by Kano in commerce and industry, assuring that his administration would work with the people of the state to enhance agriculture value chain to give more priority to processing and export.
“When you are in Kano, you remember what people want. Kano is known for education, it is known for agriculture, it is known for commerce and industry, and that is why this present administration will work with you, work with the governor that is coming to make sure that we don’t just produce food, but we process the food and export and that is why we are working very hard.
“You would remember that owing to our agricultural programme, we are producing rice and we will soon export rice from Kano.”
He also spoke of the efforts of his administration to eradicate polio in Kano, promising that it will be sustained to ensure that the virus does not resurface.
“I promised that within this administration’s period, Nigeria will surely eradicate polio and as I am telling you now, in 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared India free of Polio, they declared Bangladesh free of polio
“We would also have been declared free last year but because of our challenges this was postponed. But let me reassure you that Insha Allah, this year, the World Health Organisation will declare Nigeria Polio-free.”
Jonathan promised to work with the people of Kano in order to encourage micro and small medium scale enterprises that would make young people to follow in the footsteps of the Aliko Dangotes of this world.
While speaking at the rally, Vice-President Namadi Sambo debunked claims that the Jonathan administration was anti-North, insisting that most important appointments in the presidency and the security agencies favoured the North, just as he appealed to Kano residents and other states in the region to cast their votes for the president.
The PDP National Chairman, Adamu Muazu, also presented the PDP governorship candidate Salihu Sagiir Takai and his running mate Abba Risqua Murtala to the people.
Among those on the campaign train were Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio; Director-General of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Senator Ahmadu Ali; Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali; Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki; wife of the Vice-President, Amina Sambo; and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, among others.
After the Kano rally, the PDP campaign train proceeded to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State, where the president said the crowd was not about intimidation as it was being projected by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jonathan, who spoke at Aminu Kano Square, said the philosophy of great Nigerian leaders like Amino Kano, Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa, kicked against intimidation.
According to Jonathan, the PDP is a party that promotes unity and will never allow the country to disintegrate.
He stressed that all the states airports were built by PDP-led governments, adding, “The federal government has also established 14 universities and one international airport within this period.”
He urged Nigerians to ignore those who accuse the PDP of doing nothing.
“Leadership is not about intimidating people, it is not about threatening people. One thing about democracy is that people should be free. Freedom is the hallmark of democracy – a democracy where you are not free, a democracy where you live in bondage that is no democracy. Nigerians will never be in bondage, this country must be united,” he stressed.
He assured the people of Jigawa that his government will crush terrorism in the country.
“We have challenges of terrorism just like other countries have. But surely, we will crush this terrorism, as nobody can separate us, nobody can disintegrate this country. This country must continue to be united and nobody will allow anybody to do otherwise.”
On development initiatives for the state, he said: “What we want to do as the central government is to work with your incoming government just like we worked with Sule Lamido to make sure that we encourage our farmers to get fertilisers and soft loans to enable them fend for themselves and train their children.
“What we will do with incoming government is to create an environment for micro and medium scale enterprises for our young people to become the next set of millionaires in this country, for our young ones to create jobs for themselves, for our young people to create wealth.
“We don’t want a situation where our children will be beggers, where our children will be at home. We want to make sure that all Nigerian children have the opportunity which most of us had.
“We must give that opportunity to every Nigerian child and that is why we came up with the concept of Almajari education.”
He thanked the crowd for supporting PDP and asked them to vote for the party so it will continue working with the government of Jigawa State and see it from strength to strength.
In his remarks, the Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, welcomed Jonathan to the state, saying PDP is a family of Nigerians that believe in unity and cares for the Nigerian people.
He decried a situation where those who do not support Buhari in the North are being vilified, noting that the only thing the APC has going for it in the North is Buhari’s popularity, saying that is not democracy.
“This is the arena of liberty and freedom where the people were freed by Aminu Kano with the philosophy of knowledge, not ignorance. We are today going through our political life where If you don’t say Buhari in the North you are called pagan, a pastor.
“The North that was liberated, today they are insulting us. Call me anything you want I will stand by my beliefs. I am a Fulani man and we don’t fear anybody.
“Today in the North, if you say anything against Buhari you are vilified. My worry is that the fear of Buhari is the beginning of wisdom, as today the fear of Buhari is the failure of Buhari. You must be a human being before you are an Ijaw or Northerner.
“So humanity is our concern. Hunger does not respect ethnicity or religion, so Nigerians deserve good leadership,” Lamido said.
The governor urged Nigerians to stand up against blackmail and intimidation, stressing, “There will be Nigeria after Jonathan and Buhari.”
He advised the president to create a team of “first 11”, not a captain of first 11, adding that democracy was about freedom of choice, and “if you can’t choose then there is no democracy”.
Meanwhile, one person was killed and five vehicles destroyed yesterday in the Hotoro area of Kano city following a clash between supporters of the PDP and APC.
The clashed started when the PDP supporters were travelling from Rano Local Government Area to attend the president’s campaign rally in the state capital.
There were said to have clashed with some APC supporters leading to the death of one person.
The violent encounter also resulted in the burning of five vehicles belonging to the PDP supporters in Hotoro.
Police spokesman in the state, Assistant Superintendent of police (ASP) Musa Magaji Majia, confirmed the incident, saying the command had commenced investigations to unravel the cause of the incident.
Majia urged politicians to warn their supporters against taking laws into their hands in order to ensure peace in the state.
THISDAY gathered that the quick intervention of the security agents saved the situation from spreading to other parts of the city.