President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, assured the people of Kogi State that the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Company would soon come to life again, adding that he would never play politics with something that was special to the economy of the country.
Jonathan, who was in Kogi State, in continuation of his presidential campaign tour around the states of the country canvassing for votes ahead the February presidential election, reminded the people of the promise he made in 2011 during the campaign that he would do everything possible to make the abandoned steel company work.
The president, who arrived the Cheri Maigumeri Army Records Barrack by helicopter around 10.00a.m, went straight into a closed door meeting with some traditional rulers in the state at the officers’ mess.
The traditional rulers were led by Ameh Oboni, the Attah of Igala and chairman of the Kogi State Traditional Council. He, however, said what was discussed was not made public but a source disclosed that it bordered on insecurity and the forthcoming elections.
After the meeting, the president and his entourage, which included Vice President Namadi Sambo; the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Muazu; Senate President David Mark; the Director -General of the Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr Ahmadu Ali; Senator Smart Adeyemi; Senator Atai Aidoko; Honourable Sunday Karimi and Honourable Taju Yussuf, among other dignitaries, came straight to the Confluence Stadium, venue of the rally
Jonathan, who disclosed that in order to restructure and make the company work, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, travelled to London severally to tie the loose ends.
In order to show the people the efforts he has made towards reviving the company, he called on the Minister of Steel Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sada, to tell the audience.
Sada, who took over from there, informed that the president appointed an indegene as the managing director to manage the affairs of the company believing that an indegene would take it seriously more than others.
He informed that all the legal issues hitherto working against the operation of the company had been resolved and that some of the completed units were now working.
The minister appealed to the people to give Jonathan all the necessary support during the forthcoming election, insisting that his continuation in office was central to the total completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The president informed that Kogi State was important, as Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Lugard, gave the name of the country Nigeria here in Lokoja, adding that the foundation of the PDP was laid in the state by the founding fathers like Chief Awoniyi and others.
He said, however, that ‘‘the PDP was not found to become a personal estate of anybody where leaders would be lord and the followers would be crawling but to find meaning and develop the country. The PDP gave everybody the opportunity and it meant well for the country.”
The national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Muazu disclosed that President Jonathan had given the people of the country all the freedom, saying “he never cared about the rubbish some people were saying.”
According to him, ‘‘under the Jonathan-led administration, no politician in exile, none in detention camp all because of his tolerance and freedom of speech which he granted.”
The Director General of the campaign team, Dr Ahmadu Ali, implored people not to vote for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it was an expired party.
Governor Idris Wada, however, told Jonathan that the state would deliver 100 per cent for him, saying “Kogi State is like a second home to you, we will stand by you as you have touched peoples’ lives positively here in many ways.’’
In Minna, Niger State, President Jonathan said whoever is aspiring to rule at the highest level in Nigeria should follow the right path, adding that the right path is the PDP which believes in ensuring that young people take their destinies in their hands and aspire to leadership positions.
He stated this on Tuesday, at the PDP’s’campaign rally held at the Trade Fair Complex, Minna, the Niger State capital, saying “this is a special day, you can see that the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko, is presentable. That is what PDP is all about, presenting young people like Nasko, a youthful governor who will adequately take care of the interests of the youth and women. All you need to do is to vote for the PDP at all levels,” he said.
President Jonathan said he was always delighted visiting Niger State, saying the state was noted for producing great Nigerians like the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the late Biafrian leader, former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Justice Legbo Kutigi, the late Professor Cyprian Ekwesi and a host of other eminent Nigerians.
Also speaking earlier, a former national chairman of the party and Director-General, Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Dr Ahmadu Ali, said he was at the forefront of President Jonathan’s’re-election because he believed in the capabilities of the young people, stressing that other parties did not believe in younger generations.
Meanwhile, the host governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, stated that he was not sympathetic to the presidential aspiration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, adding that Buhari truncated his political career in 1983 when he was a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria( NPN).