President Goodluck Jonathan has said his failure to concentrate on development in the South-South zone where he hails from was a clear indication that he was a transparent leader.
The president stated this at the presidential rally of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Wednesday while responding to the claim by Governor Chibuike Amaechi that he (president) had not done anything for the zone since he assumed power at the centre six years ago.
Mr. Amaechi has repeatedly asked the people of the zone not to vote Mr. Jonathan in the February 14 presidential election because of the president’s refusal to site any tangible project in the zone.
He also accused him of deliberate refusal to complete the East-West Road that links all the states in the zone, namely Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River in that order.
At some point, the governor, who is the Director General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, told the party supporters that the “president is not my brother,” because he had not sited any major project in the zone.
Using the occasion of the rally to speak on the matter, Mr. Jonathan, who is the PDP presidential flag bearer, said he agreed with the governor’s claim that he had not done much for the states but attributed it to his desire to be a transparent leader.
“What I want to tell you and the rest of the country is that the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, when he was in Yenagoa and when he was in Port Harcourt, mentioned clearly that the President had done nothing for the two states,” he said.
“Don’t worry. It is good news because people have been saying that I concentrated development in the South-South. Bayelsa State was part of Rivers State. Then, if I don’t concentrate development in this state that means there has not been development in Rivers and Bayelsa States.
“I was a part of this state. When I finished my secondary school I relocated to this state when I started as young custom officer. I attended the UNIPORT, worked in the Ministry of Education and taught in Rivers state College of Education. I move to the then OMPADEC. I was Assistant Director. So I have been a part and parcel of this state.
“The DG (Amaechi) is telling Nigerians that I have not done this. That means that I am a transparent person. I did not allocate positions to my people. The DG would have been the very first person to expose me to the rest of the world; not just Nigeria. He would have taken me to America, to South Africa, to France, to UK, but that shows clearly that we mean well for this country.”
Mr. Jonathan said in the quest to develop Nigeria, every part of the country must be carried along.
He recounted that in the decision to build more federal universities in the country, those states which did not have one were given irrespective of the region they were.
He stated, “In our development, every part of Nigeria must be carried along. You will agree with me that when we looked at the university education, and we insisted that look, the Federal Government must make sure that all Nigerian youths must have opportunity for university education.
“We did not divide North or South; we made sure that all the states that had no federal university got a federal university. I am not going to comment on development in Rivers State and Bayelsa states.”
Mr. Jonathan however assured that if voted into power again, he would do something for the zone.
“Luckily we have been challenged that we have not done anything, we must do something,” he said.
Earlier, the president’s wife, Patience, had told the large crowd of party’s supporters gathered in Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, that River State belonged to the PDP and the party must recover it during the February 14 election.
According to her, it was the PDP members that gave the party the 2.4 million votes it garnered in the 2011 election and not the APC.
“I just come here to thank you,” Mrs. Jonathan, who is an indigene of the state, said. “The 2.4 million votes, it is PDP that voted in Rivers State, not APC. APC has no stake in Rivers State. Rivers State is PDP state and we have to take back our mandate. Are you ready to take back your mandate? Are you ready to vote Goodluck? Are you ready to vote Wike?”
Speaking to the female members of the party, the first lady said they would not fare better in other parties, especially the APC, which according to her wants women to “die.”
She said, “PDP is the only party that gives women attention. PDP is the only party that knows that women are intelligent, honest and frank; PDP is the only party that believes women should not perpetually be in the kitchen.
“PDP gives women position in the executive council. Don’t listen to what APC says. They said they are going to govern us through traditional way; we are not going back to the traditional way. We want the modern way. Vote according to your conscience.”
The governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Nyesom Wike, who received the flag of the party at the rally, recounted how the Rivers State Government planned to stop the party from conducting the rally at the Adokiye Amiesmaka Stadium.
According to him, the government had told the party that the stadium was under renovation and should use the Liberation Stadium because it did not have many supporters. He said he insisted that the party must hold the rally at the Adokiye Amiesmaka Stadium.
Mr. Wike, who was excited at the huge large crowd of supporters that attended the rally, vowed that the PDP would reclaim the state come February 14.