Kaduna — IN an apparent reference to the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday described the party as a container of toxic substances that was disaster bound, saying it posed no challenge to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ahead the forthcoming general polls.
The President made this allusion yesterday at the PDP North West Unity and Reconciliation Rally which took place at the Murtala Square, Kaduna attended by Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alh. Adamu Muazu, seven PDP governors among others in a sea of unruly party supporters.
Former governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Attahiru Bafarwa who joined other converts to the PDP in assuring the party of their loyalty, called on General Moahamadu Buhari (rtd), leader of the APC to come and join the PDP if he truly wished to serve Nigeria.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Alh. Aminu Tambuwal, from Sokoto State, was conspicuously absent from the rally and sent no representative.
As thousands of unkempt looking lads in PDP T-shirts and caps, knocked over each other amidst drumming, trumpeting and singing, President Goodluck Jonathan was ushered to the podium by the National Chairman of the PDP, Alh. Adamu Mua'azu .
After acknowledging everyone and praising the efforts of the organisers, the President launched into a frontal attack of the main opposition.
Said the President: "PDP is the only party that you can say 'is for the people, by the people and of the people'. We have been told that some people are ganging up in some different names. I can assure you that this is not the first time that there has been a gang up.
"From 1999 there was a gang up. Two, three political parties came together. They brought a Presidential candidate from one, Secretary to the Federal government from one and so forth. The gang up will fail.
"And I use to tell people that, if you put oil in a container, then pour kerosene in that container, then pour sulfuric acid in that container, you bring petrol and pour in that container and then hydrochloric acid, what do you think will happen to that container? - Disaster!
"So the gang up will fail. It is just as you mix acid and other things in a container. It is not a new thing. They will continue to gang up, but will fail.
"And you ask yourself - look at the history of great political parties all over the world - Parties that we know as great political parties. Look at their histories throughout the world, they don't change everyday like rocks going through metamorphosis.
"Look at the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. The ANC is over 103 years old. It is older than Nigeria as a state. It is still ANC today. So when you see a Party changing names anyhow you should know that that is not where to go.
"The PDP is committed to being stable. And PDP is taking us to where we shall go. PDP is the right place to be. Because PDP is a truly democratic party. It is the party that anybody can raise to be anything in the party. It is the party that gives me and you the opportunity to be what we want to be. So continue to support the PDP, continue to be with the PDP. . . . continue with your commitment to our great party, don't be worried.
"Some people say they are changing - yes people can change. If today you carry a bag of salt on your head, and tomorrow you drop the salt and carry a pen and put on your head, you have made a change.
"If tomorrow you leave the pen and carry a stool on your head that is also a change. If tomorrow the stool gets too heavy and you decide to enter into a septic tank, you have also made a change.
"So allow people to continue to make changes. But PDP remains committed to the development of the country. And let me re-assure you very, very sincerely that the PDP is still the party of the North West Zone, and intends to remain so. Come 2015 PDP is going to retain this zone. . . we will continue to retain Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi state. Kano state is a PDP state, but some people want to take the state from us. We don't know where they are taking Kano state. But with Shekarau and others joining PDP, we will take Kano back. Kano state will surely come back to PDP. The same thing with Sokoto State. PDP will take over Sokoto state, and will continue to rule Sokoto State. The only state that has never been a in the control of the PDP is Zamfara state. But it is a friendly state, and we have been assured that we will win Zamfara come 2015″, the President said.
Speaking earlier, the former governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Atahiru Bafarawa, who had left the APC for the PDP last month, said he had great respect for the leader of the APC, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd), but would rather that Buhari joined the PDP to avail him the opportunity to serve Nigeria well.
In his remarks, Mua'azu said that the North West was of great importance to the PDP, having 25% of all registered voters in Nigeria.
He said that under his tenure, he would ensure genuine reconciliation of all interests in the Party from the zone.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, said that the APC had no agenda for Nigeria.
"What they have declared as their goals for Nigeria was actually copied from just a section of our manifesto", he said.
The Governor of Kaduna state, in his speech praised the President for the infrastructure he had brought to the state, and in controlling the violence in the state, saying that the state was a solid PDP state that would always remain so.
The Minister of information, Mr Labaran Maku, in his speech said that the Present government had given the North West zone unprecedented investments in agriculture since the days of the late Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
Others who attended the rally the Chairman of the PDP governors' Forum, Chief Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa-Ibom State; the Governor of Katsina State, Bar, Ibrahim Shema, governor of Jigawa State, Mallam Sule Lamido, Governor of Kebbi State, Alh Saidu Dakingaro and the Depuy Governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Muktar Shagari.
Also in attendance was the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodor Orji, former governor of Kaduna State, Alh. Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kano state, and one time presidential candidtate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Alh. Ibrahim Shekaru.
Members of the National Assembly from the North West Zone were also in attendance, including members of states Houses of Assembly from the zone.
Tambuwal absence was not even mentioned by the organisers. Throughout the rally, no reference was made to him. It would look like he deliberately avoiuded the event since no one came to represent the number four citizen.
But, one of his aide, who said he was not speaking officialy, said that the Speaker was engaged yesterday, being the day that the House came back from its recces.