It was no doubt a home coming for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The crowd was unprecedented. Never in it’s political history has the state witnessed such a gathering. People defied the scorching sun. And for a moment, the divisive tendencies of tribe and religion, lost their hold on the enthusiastic crowd. From the 21 Local Governments they all congregated at The Confluence Stadium, venue of the rally to behold the man of destiny. That was on Tuesday, 3rd February 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan with his team came to Kogi State in continuation of his re-election campaigns.
The 30,000 capacity stadium was filled to the brim even as party supporters spilled to and covered all the adjoining routes. From all its nooks and crannies, they to outwit one another in who had a better mobilization to welcome the number one citizen. The traffic gridlock was total as people abandoned their vehicles and had to trek from the NYSC State Secretariat to the venue of the rally. Even critical pundits, became charitable in their acceptance of success of the ceremony.
Since the advent of the nation’s present democracy, Kogi State has been dubbed a People’s Democratic Party, PDP State and one of the States presently tipped by analysts would be won by President Jonathan in the forth-coming election.
But owing to the crisis that engulfed the PDP in the country in general, which saw the defection of some Governors, and lawmakers to the All Progressive Congress, Kogi State was equally not spared of the exodus.
It was this defection scenario coupled with the lull in activities noticed in the State Chapter of the PDP, partly because the State was not to hold Governorship election this year alongside other States.
Furthermore, the party was also polarized after the primaries to pick its flag-bearers for the various offices. As is usual the emergence of some candidates did not go down well with some members.
It would be recalled that a one-time Acting Governor, and Speaker, Chief Clearance Olafemi, last year led, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi also a one-time speaker and some notable personalities to defect to the APC. This signaled the creation of noticeable gap in the PDP.
But while all of this drama of defection from the PDP was going on, many analysts still concluded that the defection may not significantly alter popularity of the PDP. Little wonder, the President’s visit to campaign for a re-election in the State was used by the party to showcase its strength and to send the message that it was still intact.
That Lokoja the State capital stood still for PDP and President Jonathan is not an exaggeration. Socio-economic activities came to a halt in the state capital that fateful Tuesday.
President Jonathan flied into Lokoja. His private jet landed at the Chari-Maigumeri Barracks at exactly 11.00am. He was received by Capt Idris Wada, Kogi State Governor, other top officials of government and party chieftains.
The President on arrival went into a closed door meeting with traditional rulers who were led by HRH Michael Ameh Oboni, the Attah of Igala and Chairman of the Kogi State Traditional Council of Chiefs.
After the meeting, President Jonathan and his entourage which included Vice – President Namadi Sambo, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, National Chairman of PDP, Senate President David Mark and Dr. Ahmadu Ali, DG of the Presidential Campaign Organization among other dignitaries came straight to the stadium, amidst deafening shouts of Sai Jonathan!
President Jonathan could not hide his joy at the show of love and support. He assured the people that the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Company would soon come to life again. The President described the steel sector as a very important sector of the economy and promised to ensure that it works in the next few years.
President Jonathan said the Federal Government has been able to clear the legal impediments stalling the revamping of the Steel Company, and said aside appointing an indigene of the State to manage the affairs of the steel plant, some units of the steel complex are already working.
President Jonathan described Kogi State as a vital components of the nation said some indigenes of the state like Late Sunday Awoniyi, were the founding fathers of the PDP. He described the party as one that is geared towards the development of the country and means well for every of its citizens.
Various speakers including Alhaji Adamu Muazu, National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali Director General of the Presidential Campaign team and Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, Minister of Special Duties, described President Jonathan as one who had given the people freedom to speak out there mind on issues and yet are not in detention, said he has done well in the last four years and should be given more time to consolidate on the works he has begun.
The speakers commended President Jonathan for his tolerance and freedom of speech he granted to Nigerian’s, implored the people of the state to vote the PDP for progress and development.
In a welcome remarks, Capt Idris Wada who assured that the State would deliver 100 percent vote to President Jonathan in the February election, described Kogi State as the President’s second home.
Capt Wada promised that the people of the State have resolved to stand by President Jonathan in the forth coming election, disclosing that the President has touched the lives of Kogi people positively and in many ways.
The rally in Kogi State which was more like a carnival can better be explained by the sea of heads that graced the occasion. They danced and chorused the PDP, power slogan even in the scorching sun, has no doubt restated the fact that the State remains a PDP State with the people only waiting for reasons just like the President’s visit to prove that like the Northern star they are constant in their support of the PDP.
Going by the people’s views and comments at the rally venue, it is another reassurance that come 14th February, 2015 they will come out en mass to re-enact that which they say they know how best to do; give the PDP and all its candidates the massive and convincing support they have always given to the party when the need arises.