The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has stated that its candidate in the February 14 election, President Goodluck Jonathan, is heading to victory due to his good performance in office and widespread acceptance by Nigerians.
The spokesperson of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, who addressed a press conference on Sunday in his office, also announced that the president’s campaign train will kick off in the northern part of the country on Monday.
Northern Nigeria is believed to be the part of the country where Mr. Jonathan has the lowest popularity due to the belief by some that it is the turn of a northerner to emerge president as well as the failure of the administration to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the region.
While speaking on his party’s chances in the presidential election, Mr. Metuh said Mr. Jonathan is set to win convincingly in the five states of the South East. He also said the President would deal with the All Progressives Congress, APC, in South West states including Lagos, the stronghold of the party.
Mr. Metuh said the popularity and acceptability of Mr. Jonathan and governorship candidates have earned the PDP tremendous support at the grassroots.
“As our campaign train moves to the north tomorrow, we leverage on the goodwill we enjoy from our citizens in that region.
“The north remains a stronghold of the PDP where in the last 16 years, we have enjoyed massive support and have continued to win majority votes as a result of our unprecedented performance in all sectors.
“Our strength lies in the fact that out of the 19 states of the north, the PDP controls 12 with solid structures, oiled over the years in all the wards and local government areas,” he said.
Proof of performance
The spokesperson said the PDP is popular in the north and is buoyed by the various development projects that have hugely affected the lives of ordinary Nigerians in the region; a factor, he said, put it in vantage position to win back Sokoto, Kano, Nasarawa and Kwara as well as win in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states.
“As we go to the north, we are not just asking for votes, we are coming loaded with verifiable achievements. For instance, in education, the once abandoned Almajiri boys can now go to school as President Jonathan initiated and established the Almajiri System of Education, the first of its kind, with over 150 special schools already built across the Northern states while others are nearing completion.
“Also, out of the 14 new universities established by President Jonathan, 9 are located in the northern states thereby ensuring that all states of the region have a federal university. This is in addition to establishment of new secondary schools and training of teachers for better quality education in the north,” he said.
He also said recognizing that agriculture is the mainstay of the northern economy, Mr. Jonathan ensured that out of the 2.7 million direct farm jobs achieved by his administration, over 2 million are in the north.
He said the president established the e-wallet system, which eliminated the corruption in the distribution of fertilizer and other farm inputs thereby making the products directly accessible to millions of farmers in the region and this has boosted their productivity.
“Today, our silos are brimming and food pyramids are returning in the north,” Mr. Metuh said.
The PDP spokesperson added that in the last four years, President Jonathan has committed enormous resources in tackling desertification in the region.
“This administration established more than 80 km of 15– row Green Belt in addition to the Presidential Initiative on Afforestation in Kano and 10 other Northern States,” he said
He added that the revitalization of the railways by the Jonathan administration has connected major cities in the north to the extent that very soon it will become easy for Nigerians to live in states in the north and still work in Abuja as the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2015.
“Today, the Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano narrow gauge has been rehabilitated. The Markurdi-Lafia-Kuru-Bauchi-Gombe-Ashaka-Maiduguri, as well as the branch line from Kafanchan to Kaduna are at completion stages and will be operational soon,” he said.
On roads, the spokesperson said the Kano-Maiduguri highway that is the longest stretch in the country is being successfully tackled. He also said the Abuja-Lokoja road, which used to be a death trap and has witnessed several accidents is now a delight for road travellers.
“Against the backdrop of the achievements, a few of which we have just highlighted, we are going to the north, well-equipped with our record of performance,” the party said.