Buhari takes campaign to Bayelsa, Rivers …vows to implement UNEP Report on Ogoni
The All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), yesterday, took his campaign to the home base of President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa and Rivers States with a promise to frontally address environmental concerns and degraded infrastructure, if elected.
Buhari's promise to implement the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, report on Ogoniland was elatedly received by Ogoni traditional rulers who through the president, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Biniwa, handed him a sword to wipe out their tears when he emerges president.
General Buhari and his entourage, following the stop at Ogoniland, followed up with campaigns in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State the home base of the president and his main rival for the presidency.
Meanwhile, his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in Benin City, Edo State, said the country would be unrecognisable in one year of an APC government.
His position came as Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State regretted that President Goodluck Jonathan was blaming his predecessors in office when his six years in office has only brought agony and poverty to Nigerians.
At an interactive session with students, traditional rulers, market women and professionals in Benin City, yesterday, Osinbajo said an APC government would within one year solve the power problem, free health care and free food for school children.
He added that though the nation was rich, 'we lack the leadership to harness our resources,' just as he noted that insurgency and corruption had thrived because President Jonathan lacks the political will to fight them.
Speaking in Saakpenwa, headquarters of Tai Local Government Area during a meeting with Ogoni people, Buhari appealed to the people to vote for the APC and urged them to get their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs.
Flaying the neglect of the region, Buhari put the blame squarely on President Jonathan saying: 'The decision of the Federal Government to abandon the Bodo-Bonny road project is a clear case of incompetence and social injustice. It amounts to neglect at the highest level.
A lot is taken from Ogoniland and relatively little is brought back in return. I assure you that an APC-led Federal Government will fulfil all its promises in Ogoniland.'
Senator Magnus Abe, who hails from the area, was absent during the visit. In a statement read on his behalf, he lamented the pains the Ogoni had suffered in the nation.
Magnus, who represents the Rivers South-East senatorial district in the National Assembly, further appealed to the people to vote the APC.
He said: 'Our position as a people concerning resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni is that, there should be adequate consultation with and participation of the Ogonis in the process leading to their eventual operation.
'As a deprived people, we have consistently placed in the domains of all governments, the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) that seeks for equal representation of Ogonis in the affairs of the nation. These demands include appointment of Ogoni sons and daughters in government, provision of live sustainable infrastructures, such as good roads, water and development institutions.'
On his part, Director General, Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, urged the people to vote for the APC, saying the Ogoni had suffered neglect in the country.
President, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Biniwa, later handed a copy of the UNEP report and a sword to Buhari, urging him to wipe out their tears when he emerges president.
Buhari repeated the same vow of dealing with environmental problems in Bayelsa where he was received by thousands of supporters who had defied the scorching sun and long delay to receive him at the Samson Siasia Stadium.
The stadium was filled to capacity as at 3 p.m. five hours after his scheduled arrival as party supporters busied themselves with entertainments provided by dance troupes and other entertainers.
Speaking at the event, Buhari identified corruption, insecurity and incompetent leadership as bane of the nation's march to greatness even as he promised to tackle environmental pollution ravaging the Niger Delta region.
He also promised to revive agriculture and fishing in the region to boost food production and reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
He lamented that the PDP neglected agriculture with the result that the nation is dependent on imports to feed her population.
He also noted with sadness that the people of the Niger Delta can no longer fish in their troubled water due to pollution and promised to work with the United Nations to remediate the environment if voted into office.
Also speaking, Governor Amaechi in his speech at the occasion assured that the party would create jobs, tackle poverty, unemployment and insecurity in the country of voted into power.