Pro-Jonathan rallies kick off in the North


Loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday kickstarted the process of dragging him into the 2011 presidential race with a rally in Bauchi, the capital city of Bauchi State.

The rally under the aegis of The Jonathan Movement(TJM) was tagged: 'A call on the president to run.'

Coordinators of the TJM from across the six states of North Central were present at the rally where a letter of request addressed to the president was handed over to the Bauchi State chairman of the PDP by the six coordinators of the TJM from the North East geo-political zone.

National Coordinator of the TJM, Alhaji Awwal Lawan, who addressed the gathering, said that the rally was aimed at calling on President Jonathan to contest in the 2011 election.

He said that one of the reasons for his group's decision to call on Jonathan to contest is that the president “is best suited to stabilise the polity,” adding that continuity is a major plank of the group's agitation.

"Our reason for asking President Goodluck Jonathan to contest for office of president is because we need continuity in office. President Jonathan has been vice president of Nigeria for three years and by 2011, he would have been president for only one year. We feel he has started gaining the necessary experience and exposure. He therefore deserves to put his experience into practice.

"Continuity is key to policy formulation and implementation. A country cannot progress without continuity in policy direction.

"Secondly, we are supporting President Jonathan to contest for president come 2011 because we believe it will bring about unity and stability within the nation. We must not play politics of sectionalism, regionalism or ethnicity. This country belongs to all of us irrespective of which part anyone comes from. We must extend our hand of friendship to our brothers and sisters across the Niger Delta region because they are our long-term allies and trusted friends," the coordinator said.

TJM also insisted that a vote for Jonathan, in 2011, would guarantee national unity, continuity in policy direction,breed support for sectional, religious and ethnic harmony, democratic consolidation, stable power supply and sincerity in fighting against corruption.

Though the Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda did not attend the rally, some commissioners from his cabinet participated in the rally.

PDP aspirants for various elective offices from the six states of North East also joined the rally where they displayed their posters conspicuously. Posters bearing the pictures of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed and that of President Jonathan, as well as that of Governor Yuguda, were conspicuously on display at the Ibrahim Babangida Centre, venue of the Bauchi rally.