Nigeria’s leading party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said that the North remains one of its strongholds where it had enjoyed massive support and majority votes in the last 16 years.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Olisa Metuh, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this was as a result of the party’s unprecedented performance in all sectors in the region.
“Our strength lies in the fact that out of the 19 states in the north, the PDP controls 12 with solid structures over the years in all the wards and local government areas.
“The capacity of our winning machine is buoyed by the various tangible development projects that have hugely affected the lives of ordinary Nigerians in the north,’’ he said.
This, he maintained, had put the PDP in vantage position to win back: “ its original states of Sokoto, Kano, Nasarawa and Kwara as well as win in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states’’.
Metuh said that as the PDP campaign train moves to the north it would not just ask for votes but was loaded with verifiable
He said for instance, in education, the once abandoned Almajiri boys could now go to school as President Jonathan initiated and established the Almajiri System of Education.
This, he said, was the first of its kind with over 150 special schools already built across
Northern states while others were near completion.
“Out of the 14 new universities established by President Jonathan, nine are located in the northern states, thereby ensuring that all states of the region have a federal university.
“This is in addition to the establishment of new secondary schools and training of teachers for better quality education in the region,’’ he said.
He said recognising that agriculture was the mainstay of the northern economy, President Jonathan ensured that out of the 2.7 million direct farm jobs achieved by his administration, over 2 million were in the north.
This, Metuh said, was in addition to the established e-wallet system which eliminated the corruption in the distribution of fertiliser and other farm inputs.
According to the PDP spokesman, this has made the products directly accessible to millions of farmers in the region and boost productivity.
He said that in the last four years, President Jonathan had committed enormous resources in tackling desertification in the region.
The President Jonathan administration, he said, had also 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.
“The revitalisation of the railways by the Jonathan administration has connected major cities in the north and very soon, it will become easy for Nigerians to come to work in Abuja from the northern states.
This, he said, was so as the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail was expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2015.
Metuh said that already, the Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano narrow gauge had been rehabilitated, while the Markurdi-Lafia-
Kuru-Bauchi-Gombe-Ashaka-Maiduguri and the branch line from Kafanchan to Kaduna were at completion stages and would soon be operational.
On roads rehabilitation, he said the decades-long intractable Kano-Maiduguri highway that was the longest stretch in the country was being successfully tackled.
He said that the Abuja-Lokoja road which used to be a death trap was now a delight for road travelers, adding that hundreds of such gigantic road projects were ongoing in the region.
This, the PDP spokesman added was in addition to the dredging of the River Niger from Lokoja to Baro in Niger.
“Against the backdrop of these achievements, we are going to the north, well-equipped with our record of performance.
“Our outing in the South-West and South-East shows clearly that the people of Nigeria are still with PDP and their admiration
for our flag bearer remains unprecedented.
“We are hoping for even more of that in the north,’’ he said.
The PDP spokesman appreciated Nigerians for their support, goodwill and prayers for President Jonathan.
He also thanked the party`s supporters in the states so far visited for their solidarity and resounding resolution to vote for President Jonathan and all PDP candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
He said that in keeping with the party`s avowed commitment to a peaceful electoral process, its campaigns had been orderly and on issues, devoid of unnecessary political mudslinging and acts of desperations.
This, he said was especially so, seeing the fact that majority of the Nigerian voting population was with the PDP.
“As we move along, one thing is clear, Nigerians from all walks of life identify with President Jonathan as a leader with very strong bond with the people and their wellbeing,’’ he said.
This, the PDP spokesman added was irrespective of religious, ethnic and political affiliations.
According to him, the party`s campaigns had been greeted by the turnout of millions of Nigerians who were eager to return President Jonathan to power come Feb. 14.
“I can assure you that with the support of Nigerians, we will not only win convincingly in the five South- East states, but also deal the APC a crushing defeat in South-West states,’’ he said.
This, he said, would include Lagos State where the popularity and acceptability of PDP Presidential and governorship candidates had earned it tremendous support at the grassroots.
He said that as the PDP campaign train moves to the north on Jan. 19, it would leverage on the goodwill it enjoyed from the people in that region. (NAN)