The National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Wale Oladipo, on Monday said the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, remains a leader of the party in the country.
Also, an Osun State-based pressure group, the Justice Now Foundation (JNF), frowned at the alleged order from the Presidency, directing the total shut down of all economic activities in Osogbo simply because President Goodluck Jonathan is coming to launch his campaign in the state capital today.
Oladipo, who spoke at a press conference in Osogbo, Osun State stressed that the contributions of Obasanjo to Nigerian democracy and PDP in particular could not be under estimated.
He said the party respects ex-President Obasanjo and will continue to adore him as an elder statesman, who is useful to the country and the world at large.
The PDP scribe, who maintained that Obasanjo is a national leader of the PDP, stressed that the former president is a blessing to the nation and the party, hence the honour given to him by the leadership of the party including President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, “Chief Obasanjo is a leader who we all respect so much in the PDP. He is an elder statesman and a mentor to so many of us. I believe he will continue to render useful advice to us in the PDP and to the nation at large,” he stated. He however described the February 14 Presidential election as “a contest between a Ph.D holder and a semi-literate old soldier.”
Also, Prof. Oladipo assured that power would shift from the north to the south after the second term of President Jonathan, saying that the northerners need to support President Jonathan in the interest of national unity and continuity of the President’s transformation agenda.
He urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to truncate Nigerian democracy through violence, saying, “the APC needs to stop breaking the rules and focus on their campaign. The APC should not subvert the will of Nigerians.’
While condemning violent acts allegedly perpetrated by the APC, the PDP scribe called on the Police to investigate the attack on the campaign team of President Jonathan in Jos, Plateau State.
Meanwhile, security was yesterday beefed up in Osogbo, the Osun State capital ahead of today’s visit of President Goodluck Jonathan and other national leaders of the PDP for the party’s presidential campaign.
Security operatives cleared the Mandela Freedom Park, venue of the campaign rally yon Monday as the security operatives sent traders around the park away.
However, the JNF condemned the alleged PDP directive closing the Akindeko, MDS, Old garage and their environs in Osogbo for the visitation of President Goodluck Jonathan on today.
JNF said the order, if indeed originated from the Presidency, was an attestation to the impunity and abuse of power, which it said was the culture of the Nigerian leaders and that of President Jonathan in particular.
According to the JNF in a press statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Comrade Bello Adebayo, yesterday, the closure of the market order was anti-masses and insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians who are living from hand to mouth.
Adebayo said: “We were informed that there is an order from the presidency that the market men and women at Old Garage, MDS, Akindeko and their environs should not open their shops or go to market yesterday and today because President Jonathan is coming to campaign in Osogbo.
“We have gone round the markets and we observed that some people did not open their shops in line with the directive, while the few that opened were panicking and they abruptly closed their shops around noon.
“We need to say that the closure of the markets for the President Jonathan’s visit is a way of impoverishing the people as they are not allowed to go about their commercial activities where they make money on daily basis.
“It has never happened in any democratic civilised countries that people will be ordered to close their shops because of a president is visiting the state. This is clear impunity and abuse of power by the presidency.
“It is even more painful when one remembers that this said President Jonathan has unleashed economic suffering on the people because of his inability to address the brazen corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources.”
Adebayo maintained that on whatever disguise or reason, the Presidency should not have made such order, knowing too well the level at which the austerity measure that the federal government imposed on the country it taking its tolls on the common people of the country.