President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that his fate, as far as the 2011 presidential election is concerned, remains in the hands of the Almighty God.
However, the presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and incumbent Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, has vowed to see his bid for the Presidency to a logical conclusion, stressing that he would not withdraw for any aspirant in the PDP or any other party.
In a statement by Director, Media and Publicity, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Campaign Organisation, Garba Deen Mohammed, the governor debunked a media statement allegedly made by Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Paul Umeh in which the latter credited some political leaders from the North Central Zone with a call on Saraki to withdraw from the presidential race.
In a statement by the Director of Media and Publicity of the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Sully Abu, the President said he had kept quiet over Ciroma’s campaign against his legitimate aspiration to seek re-election because of the respect he had for the elder statesman.
President Jonathan said he expected Ciroma to help build the country by shunning ethnicity.
Abu wrote: “The Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation has been reluctant to take on Mallam Adamu Ciroma as he leads the charge against the legitimate aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan to seek his party’s nomination to contest the 2011 presidential elections.
“This reluctance has derived from our utmost respect for him as an elder statesman, a party grandee and a man to whom this country has given a lot. The least the people of Nigeria expect from a man of his status is to help build the country and help repair any ethnic and sectional fault lines that may exist.”
Expressing disappointment over Ciroma’s recent statements in the media, Abu added: “But alas, Mallam Adamu Ciroma has taken on a rather divisive role. Insisting that he is speaking for the North, he has been playing the politics of division and in a way which would not edify the country’s unity.
This insistence flies in the face of overwhelming evidence of the yearning of all Nigerians, including those Mallam Adamu Ciroma said he is speaking for, to see change in the way this country is governed and especially in their material condition.
“Indeed, every available indication is that our people are sick to death with the divisive politics of yesterday and those who have been responsible for the country’s underdevelopment and regression.
“No one should delude himself that he is speaking for the North or any other part of the country for that matter, unless they are willing to go along with the people’s yearning for change, fundamental change.’’
The presidential campaign spokesman justified President Jonathan’s aspiration saying: “With regards to the PDP zoning formula of the party, noting the circumstances of President Jonathan’s ascension to the Presidency and his legitimate ambition, has decided that he is entitled to contest just as other aspirants. Any loyal party man should have the discipline to abide by the decision of the party.’’
He cautioned: “The Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization recognises the last ditch ambition of some aspirants for whom 2011 represents a last chance to fulfill their dream. But that desperation should not be equated with the interest of our people.
“It is Almighty God, speaking through the people, who will determine the future of Nigeria and President Jonathan and not the arrogant few who seek to play God.’’
The call on Saraki to withdraw from the presidential race, according to Mohammed, was purportedly made at a meeting hosted by Senate President David mark.
But Mohammed wrote: “We view this statement as misleading and a reflection of the growing panic from those who feel threatened by Saraki’s increasing acceptability, not only in the North-Central but also across the entire country.
“For record purposes, at no time before, during and after the meeting was any call made by any of those present for Saraki to withdraw from the presidential race.
“This much has been confirmed at least by two of the governors who were at the meeting. Consequently, the press release by the chief press secretary to the Senate president is a complete distortion of what transpired at the meeting.”
Mohammed added: “Saraki’s acceptability as the popular choice to lead the nation in 2011 has been on the increase across the country.
This is very much evident in the rousing reception he has been receiving in all the states he has visited in the course of his political consultation, especially in the North-Central Zone.
“The Saraki campaign remains focused and will not be distracted by the antics of desperate political gladiators who want to misinform the public.”