President Goodluck Jonathan has said the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will lead Nigeria to greatness.
Jonathan said this on Saturday in Sokoto where led other chieftains of the party to officially welcome former governor of the state, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who defected to PDP with his supporters from APC .
The President, at the reception, said: “First let me greet our family and the people of Sokoto state because PDP is the only party that belongs to everybody, Nigerians.
“There is nothing like gender factor in PDP; we don’t discriminate based on anything. That is why in every polling unit you go; you see formidable support for this great party. You go outside Nigeria and ask how many political parties you have in Nigeria, they say PDP and others. So PDP is the symbol of democracy in Nigeria today. And that is why all Nigerians even those who are not in partisan politics believe in the PDP. That when the notice certain going on PDP that are not so good, everybody get jittery because the feeling is that if anything happen to PDP, it will affect the country.”
He said: “Religious leaders, business leaders, men and women who are not partisan politicians believe in the PDP because it is the only party that can stabilize this country.
“The reasons are obvious; PDP is the only party that is stable. It has undergone its changes, other parties are still passing through maybe what in Biology they talk about metamorphosis, and other parties are still evolving. In earth sciences they call about metamorphic rocks, we don’t know what the metamorphic rocks will lead to but it is changing. Other parties are still changing, we don’t know where they will change to, but PDP is stable at all levels and we promise that the PDP will continue to give leadership at all levels in that regard.
“Today, we have not come to Sokoto to campaign for any position, councilors, local government chairmen, house of assembly or national assembly or any other office, but we have come because we need to reassure our great followers in Sokoto and indeed the whole country that PDP is still united, it is still the party to beat, it is still the party that can lead this country to where we want to go.
“Specially, we have come because we have a great son of Sokoto State, a great politician of the state that you know more than I do, a formidable person whom most of the characters that are talking about politics today came through, and he has seen that the interest of Nigeria as a nation is superior to his own personal interest.
“He believes that if this country gets to crisis, all of us will lose. PDP is the only party that have that vision to lead this country to stability, to lead this country to economic revolution. And he and his teaming supporters have today declared for the PDP and to join the party totally and we have come to receive him in your presence, to tell you that in Sokoto State now, we are waiting for the next election, that all the people from Sokoto will deliver PDP in all the elections.
“So when you see Bafarawa and Shagari, you know that in 2007, this is the young man that won the PDP primaries, but for one thing or the other, some adjustments were made. And of course you know this has been your great political leader (Bafarawa) who has run this state and created men and women. So if you see these two people coming together in PDP, do you have any other party? Where are the others, they are nowhere.
“So we have come to show clearly that PDP has taken the right leadership of this state and we will not disappoint you. We will come back to Sokoto State for a formal campaign, when the time reaches. Then, we will enumerate the great things we have done, we are told that some people are deceiving the great people of Sokoto State. But when we flagged off the Almajiri programme, it’s in Sokoto state that I personally came that day with the Sultan to flag off. Because we believe, if probably I was from Sokoto State,
“I would probably have been an Almajiri because I also belong to the peasants; in some quarters they call them the Talakawas. And that is the encouragement we are giving to everybody, if from that I am today the President of this country and can stand before the highest person in the world, not just to discuss but to debate, that means that any of you hear can do that. And I was able to get to this position because despite the fact that I came from the peasant group, I was able to go to school. That is why my commitment to education is to make sure that we liberate every Nigerian. We can only do that if we make sure every Nigerian go to school. That is why we support that Almajiri programme very well so that tomorrow, we will be a great country.
“If you go to Canada, they will tell you that they are the most educated populace in the world, because in terms of the number of graduates per the number of people, they have the highest in the world. So, why can’t we have that? You know the works that are going on Sokoto roads, power sector including the power infrastructure in the state. You know that within this period of the PDP government, whether it is Sallah or Christmas period, the fuel cues that Nigerians experienced in filling stations are no more there because people are working.
“In agriculture, I am not taking about the dams we are building, irrigations that will bring to you documented evidence to confront whoever is attempting to deceive you. In terms of direct impact on the people, the Growth Enhancing Support Scheme, in this state, we registered 281 farmers that get fertilizers directly from us, get seeds and other inputs to touch the people directly. I am not talking about roads which even if you the best and people don’t have money to buy cars, the roads will be useless. We are talking about what touches the people directly, give them daily food, enhance their competences and create wealth at the grassroots. We have touched 282 farmers directly, our rice programme, we have touched 121,000 farmers directly. And of course the dry season farming 82,000 farmers have registered for this programme in the state out which we have reached 75,000 and in the next two months, we will reach everybody.
“If somebody comes to tell you stories that are not true, please, tell them that we have heard, we have seen, don’t deceive us.
“So, today we bring message of hope to our great people of Sokoto State that we must change this state for the better. Bafarawa joining us with his formidable supporters, with Shagari and other strong politicians here in PDP, Sokoto State, is for PDP. We want to use Sokoto as an example to show all others that PDP is still the major party in this country. We are going round after this rally in Sokoto State. Next Saturday, we will be going to Imo State, the other week we will go to Kano State. We may also go to other states, but the national committee is also working out our zonal rallies.
“We want to go round the country, all the zones and to tell Nigerians that PDP is still the number one party. And we want to do this before we start election because from the middle of this year people will begin to become aspirants, because PDP has not turned to anybody.
“So there is no any aspirant yet for any position. And this is the best time we are going round, we are going round to showcase PDP, what the party has done over the period and what it will continue to do. That the PDP government is the only one that can bring stability, is the government that obeys the rule of law, any day, from the smallest court be it customary court or area court, high court or magistrate or appeal court. Whenever they give judgment, we obey, we don’t disobey any judgment.
“Obey the rule of law, we obey the constitution. We have seen some people disobeying some clear provisions in the constitution and are disobeying with impunity. And we believe that this will soon be history. This is the only party that will continue to hold the tenets of democracy. PDP just dey ‘gidigbam’, no shaking.
“Let me on behalf of our great party expressed sympathy to our traders and those who use the Kara market, because about 4th of February, we had an unfortunate fire incident in that market. I will stop over to see what has happened and to see what the Federal Government can give to the people. We pray that Allah will replace whatever you have lost.
“In fact, I was telling some people when we were coming in this morning and I saw the crowd left and right that if we were running a parliamentary system where the prime minister if he looks at the political environment in the country, he can call for early elections, I would have called for early elections. Let us see where this noise is coming from, whether they are supported.
“Some people are afraid to go back and contest their seats because in a normal setting, if a parliamentarian leaves his seat and cross to another party, the assumption is that you have consulted your constituency and they agreed that you should cross over. Such a parliamentarian would want to call for early elections to show that he is going with his constituency but in Nigeria, the story is different. Well, time will tell.”
“Today is a great day for not only myself, but also for Sokoto State people. Sokoto people, you know I didn’t join PDP alone. I joined PDP by your instruction. I didn’t join PDP in Abuja or anywhere, but you were the people who made the decision and then I had to follow your decision. Isn’t it? After I had declared for PDP you said let’s go to Abuja and suggest a date for a visit to my chairman and my good friend who has come to change PDP for the better.
“We went and then we gave your message. After seeing the chairman, we said please tell the president let him come by himself so that we can see him. Isn’t it? Now, within ten days, I delivered the message- myself and the chairman delivered the message- and Mr. President told us that we should regard it as done. Today he is here. Mr. President, I don’t want to tell you too much stories. As far as Sokoto is concerned, you go and sleep.
“You don’t have any problem. We have been winning the elections and then we have been rigged out and manipulated out. Today we are back to the mainstream of PDP; there is no other party that would get even councilor in Sokoto, Insha Alau, except PDP.
“This is a message I’m delivering on behalf of my people and the entire people of Sokoto State. Mr. President, I want you to go with a clear mind that you don’t have problem in Sokoto State. Forget about those who betray you. You are not the first victim; I was the first victim.
“Everyone in the National Assembly, up to the state level, I helped them to become who they are. But for reasons best known to them, you have seen it today. We are joining PDP today, not with councilors, not with House of Assembly members, not with National Assembly members; but we are joining PDP with the people who are going to deliver all the elected officers in 2015. “I’m assuring you we are going to deliver. If you don’t have any doubt in Bayelsa, and I believe you don’t have any doubt in Bayelsa; so, don’t have any doubt about Sokoto.
“PDP as a party, with the leadership of our great chairman, we are always amending the constitution. This time around we are going to amend the manifesto of our party. In the last 15 years when PDP was registered, I believe there has not been any amendment attached to the manifesto. Therefore, to see that they are implementing what is the manifesto of our party. Mr. President with us, by the grace of God, we are going to help you by 2015, if you decide to declare. That is your own personal interest, but if the party decides to give you support and you become the candidate of PDP, I’m assuring you, we are going to work for you for the success of our party.
“I have told you earlier, we joined PDP in principle to build democracy, to build our state and also to build our nation. Therefore, if Mr President with his entourage, for the first of its kind, decide to come and see one person on behalf of Sokoto people, what else do you want? Mr. President, thank you very much. We are assuring you that we are going to deliver, Insha Alau, by the grace of God.”
“It gives me a very great pleasure today to be here in Sokoto and the whole members of the National working committee, the vice president and all the leaders of our party.
“The reason for coming to Sokoto is well known to all of you. It is because we have come to take one of you, your son, my very dear friend and brother, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who has declared with his own people and supporters to join the greatest party in Africa, the winning party, the party of Nigerians, the party that is synonymous with the development of Nigeria, a party to beat in the next 60 years. I assure you, our party is growing from strength to strength each day. We do not need to preach to you about what we have done.
“With what we have done on ground, I assure you that if a foreigner comes to Nigeria and drives his car from one state to the other, our states (PDP states) stand very distinctively different in terms of development, progress and what have you. Today, I want to assure you that our party, with due consultation with all stakeholders, is going to come up with very clear programmes that will enhance the quality of our manifesto for us to even perform very, very well.
“At the moment, I want to assure you that the party under my leadership with my colleagues would continue to make sure our party grows even stronger than it has ever been before. Despite the loss of some of our governors, I want to assure you that we have not lost the people. Our followership, as you can see from the people here who have come in very great number and I’m sure that Sokoto State has been PDP and is still PDP.
“I want to assure you that by the grace of God under the able leadership of our leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, a very humble, meticulous and cheerful leader who has worked very hard for our party in the last four years, is going to continue to do whatever it takes to make our party even stronger. We are very happy and proud of your leadership. We are very happy and proud with the development and sense of unity and sense of purpose you brought into this country.”
“I want to thank the former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, for finding time to go and receive Mr. President at the airport. I believe strongly that Sokoto remains the seat of power and what he (Shagari) has done today is to show respect to leadership because he knows that authority comes from God.
“I assure Mr. President that together with the good people of Sokoto State, PDP will rule again in 2015. When I was listening to the speech of the deputy governor of Sokoto State, Mr. President I was elated that 2015 election would be defined, not by propaganda, not by what the newspapers write and not by what they sponsor on television. They will be defined by what we have done; the legacies that PDP has left behind on the ground since we came into office.
“That is the reason why we are here. You travel from Sokoto and you move down to go and see the PDP government in Katsina, in Niger, in Jigawa up to Cross River State, everywhere, in fact I don’t want to mention the uncommon transformation in Akwa Ibom.
“It is no longer news, I’m not going to mention that. Mr President, PDP is solid when it comes to performance. At the federal level time will not permit us to go into details about what you have been able to put together. What surprises us is the fact that in spite of all distractions, you have managed to remain focused and delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. Mr. President Nigerians are very happy with you.”