President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday virtually went for the throat of the Kano State Governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, calling him a devil.
Jonathan also accused the governor of embezzling money meant for the state delegates to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2011 presidential election.
The visibly angry president told the PDP supporters at the party’s unity rally to formally welcome a former state governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, into the party, that Kwankwaso never voted for him and Vice-President Namadi Sambo either at the party level or national level as the governor claimed.
Apparently reacting to the statement allegedly credited to the governor that any Kano man who wears bowler hat, his personal trademark, is a devil and that he regretted voting for him, Jonathan wondered how can he be a devil when his government had done so much for the people of the state.
He stressed that Kwankwaso never liked him to win the presidency of the country, adding that Kwankwaso walked out angrily at the PDP convention when it became clear that he was going to win the party’s presidential ticket.
The president said the governor also pocketed an undisclosed amount of money given to him to bring the state delegates to the national convention of the party, saying: “he never gave anyone kobo.
“The little money that my campaign office provided, Kwakwanso refused to give it to the delegates. “Even for the main election, the little money my campaign office sent to his state to facilitate the movement of people, Kwankwaso refused to give the money to anybody.
“How can Kwankwaso tell people that he voted for me?” Jonathan queried.
“I read in the newspaper that the governor of Kano State said he regretted voting for me. Let me tell my good people of Kano that Kwankwaso did not vote for me and the vice-president.
“We accommodate a lot because we know so much but we talk less,” he said. He recalled that the governor walked out of Eagles Square, venue of the PDP primary in 2011, when it was glaring that he would emerge as the party’s candidate.
“When it was clear at the Eagles Square that I will emerge as the candidate, Kwankwaso left the venue. If Kwankwaso had voted for me, he would have stayed to celebrate with me with the other governors,” Jonathan noted.
According to the president, as part of his hidden agenda to frustrate his wining the election, Kwankwaso allegedly pocketed the money given to him for the movement of Kano delegates during the primary and the election proper.
According to the president who deliberately wore his traditional attire, matched with bowler hat at the rally, away from the white baban riga and ‘Aminu Kano’ cap worn by other party chieftains, while the governor cannot account for about N55.6 billion which the state got from the federation account since 2011, his (Jonathan) government had given Kano people so much in terms of socio-economic development.
He noted that these included 515,000 farmers who benefitted from 76,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers, 58,000 improved seeds for farmers and 100,000 farmers who benefited from dry farming facilities all between 2012 and 2013.
The president added that as at 2013, the population of rice farmers grew from 1,500 to 66,000 even as he said the federal government under him had been supporting cotton, wheat and groundnut farmers in the state.
Jonathan said he had assured the Emir of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero, that his government would soon revive groundnut pyramid, asking: how can such person who has done so much for Kano be called devil?
Jonathan described Shekarau as a true Nigerian political patriot who warmly received him in Kano three times at the time he was vice-president on the PDP platform while Shekarau was then serving on the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
The president who was apparently reacting to Kwanwaso who refused to receive him in the state, made it clear that PDP would recover the state in 2015 “whether with red cap or bowler hat.”
On the terrorists’ attacks, especially at Nyanya bus park on Monday in Abuja, Jonathan vowed that terrorists would not stop his government from working, even as he reassured Nigerians and the international community that the country would soon get over it. The president who once more expressed condolences to the families of victims of the bomb blast in Nyanya, which claimed no fewer than 71 lives and over 124 people injured, said the target of terrorists is to halt governance.
He said the terrorists had failed as his administration would not succumb to terror.
“Let me emphasiss that terror will not stop Nigeria from moving. The terrorists and those sponsoring them will not stop this country from moving.
“This country will continue to move from strength to strength. We will continue to do our best to make sure we live peacefully in this country,” Jonathan affirmed. In his response, Kwanwaso said the president was insensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians.
The governor lamented that at a time when the nation should be mourning the victims of the Nyanya bomb explosion, the president decided to embark on what he described as “merry-making trips.
“At a time when several innocent lives have been lost, when many of the victims are in hospital seeking blood donations to survive, the president is gallivanting round the country in the name of PDP unity rally.”
The governor, who spoke in Hausa during the matriculation ceremony at the Northwest University, wondered why the president should be travelling aimlessly with taxpayers’ money, while the common man was being killed daily because of the failure of the federal government to adequately protect lives and property.
Kwankwaso chided the president for justifying, promoting and sustaining corruption, pointing out that despite the allegation of corruption against the minister of aviation and the unremitted $20 billion oil funds, the president remained silent on them during his campaign visit to Kano.
“The man came to Kano to smear our image but thank God, the man gave me free publicity by mentioning my name over 50 times in a 15-minute address.”
“The president, his vice and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation are vultures. They want the PDP to die and feast on its carcass,” he said asserting that personally, their present disposition was a fertilizer to his future political aspiration.
“Supposing I decide to contest for the number one seat in this country, I will beg APC, APGA and Labour Party not cast their votes for me – I want to assure you that with the PDP vote that I will garner, definitely I will defeat the incumbent president hands down,” the governor maintained.
He said the federal government, under Jonathan had failed people of Kano State and indeed other Nigerians by not doing what is expected of a responsible government to better their lives
He added that in Kano for instance, all the Jonathan administration can boast of constructing was one bridge of not more than N2billion.