President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a swipe at Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state, accusing him of embezzling the money his (President’s) campaign office provided to mobilise the state delegates for the 2011 presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party and the main election, lying and pilfering with Local Government funds.
Jonathan was in Kano yesterday to formally receive Malam Ibrahim Shekarau in whose honour, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, organised a Unity Rally at Polo Ground.
Prior Jonathan’s visit to Kano, Kwankwaso had said that Kano people would not welcome Jonathan because of what he described as continued marginalization of Kano by the Jonathan-led Federal Government.
Kwankwaso also said he regretted voting for Jonathan in 2011. “I regret voting for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 Presidential Election, as he has done nothing to move the nation forward. Only a few people are enjoying in Nigeria at the expense of the generality of the citizenry,” he said.
Jonathan, however, fired back by saying Kwankwaso has never favoured him politically. Jonathan, whoopenly chided Kwankwaso during the PDP Unity Rally said “PDP must recapture Kano in 2015.”
President Jonathan also challenged Governor Kwankwaso to account for over N225 billion Local Government funds he received from the Federal Allocation within two years.
“We read in some of the national dailies that the Governor of Kano state, Kwankwaso, said he regretted voting for me. Let me tell my good people of Kano that Kwankwaso did not vote for me or Vice President Namadi Sambo whether in the primaries or the main election.
“We have accommodated a lot, but we talk less. Those of you from Kano in PDP knew what happened that when we entered that Eagle Square; by the time the counting got up to half-way—when it was clear that I was to emerge as the candidate, Kwankwaso left the venue.
He added that: “Even the little money my campaign office provided for refreshment and transportation for Kano delegates, Kwankwaso refused to give them that money. He did that so that the Kano delegates will be angry, so that they would not vote for me.
“Some of you will be asking questions why is it that today, your President is not wearing the PDP dress; I decided to appear this way because there is somebody here in Kano who has been campaigning that the person wearing this bowler hat is a devil.
“I am here to tell you briefly what the Federal Government has done to Kano people and I want you to ask yourself whether such a person who has been able to do all these things for you be a devil.
He noted that: “Federal Government has taken Kano as a major state for its agricultural transformation agenda. The farmers of Kano are benefitting enormously from Federal Government Growth Enhancement Scheme. In the last two years, a total of 760,000 farmers in Kano state have benefitted from the Federal Government’s subsidized fertilizer programme and free improved seeds for maize and rice.”
Jonathan also revealed that over 70 per cent of Kano farmers are benefitting from Federal Government’s fertilizer subsidy scheme. He also stated that within a period of two years, about 76, 000 metric tons of subsidized fertilizer have been supplied to Kano farmers.
President Jonathan expressed appreciation to Kano people for the warm reception accorded him, saying, “Let me thank the good people of Kano state for the reception. From the airport to this venue, people lined up to welcome us.”
While formally welcoming Shekarau, he described him as a man of the people. “He is the man of the people, When he was a governor, he was a member of ANPP, I visited him two or three times as the Vice President of the PDP; but because Shekarau is a Nigerian, a well-learned man, an intelligent man, he received me in all the occasions I came here.”
“These are the kind of people that Kano needs to project and follow. We thank Shekarau for joining the PDP today. He is fully welcomed and fully integrated into the party,” President Jonathan said.
Malam Shekarau described the day as memorable and promised to protect and promote the interest of the Kano masses so long as he remain in politics no matter the party platform.
“As long as I remain in politics, I will be dedicated and do all within my ability and capability to remain loyal to the party so as to do everything within our power to show our solidarity and support to the party.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President, David Mark, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Ihedioha, chairman PDP Governors Forum, Godwill Akpabio, Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina states, Governor Dakingari of Kebbi state, National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu, Minister of Information Labaran Maku, and others were with President Jonathan in Kano.
President Jonathan’s visit, grounded businesses activities and vehicular movement within Club Road, Independent Road, Airport Road and some major streets within the Bompai axis as thousands of Kano residents, including women and youths trooped out to receive him.