MEETS CAN, NSCIA IN WARRI, KADUNA

By NBF News
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President Goodluck Jonathan would meet tomorrow with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Warri, Delta State. The meeting showed clear indications that he will use the visit to drum support for the re-election bid of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in the April 16 guber polls.

The president is also billed to meet with members of National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NCSIA, on Sunday in Kaduna as part of the ongoing nationwide consultation with various interest groups across the country, on the best way forward for Nigeria, after May 29.

President Jonathan has also promised strong legislation that will end the monster of piracy that bedevils the entertainment industry.

He stated this while addressing stakeholders of the industry at an interactive dinner with stakeholders.

The President assured that the assets of anyone convicted of piracy will be forfeited and ploughed back to the industry, to serve as deterrent to others. 'We need a very strong law to tackle piracy, the same way we are developing laws to tackle terrorism. If you have been living on piracy and we can convict you, we will be able to have your properties and assets confiscated and given back to the industry.'

He said his consultations with various stakeholders was not because he wants to win the 2011 presidenc, recalling that even as deputy governor of Bayelsa State, he had established special secondary schools where students with special skills were given special training to hone their talents for productive use.

At the Forum, renowned artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya, told President Jonathan, 'the entire industry is looking up to you to employ our arts and talents to embellish national events and our missions abroad. We need to maximise opportunities of the industry to project the national image.'

Meanwhile the National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, will on Friday lead top officials of CAN to play host to President Jonathan on Friday in Warri, while the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Abubakar Sa'ad III will lead the NSCIA to a parley with the President on Sunday in Kaduna.

In the same vein, a top source disclosed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan has stressed that it would not loose any state in the South-south geo-political zone to any political party.

The source said PDP's victory in Delta State was not a victory for Uduaghan alone but the entire zone as the control of the region by the ruling party would undoubtedly enhance its bargaining power at the federal level. The source cited the 13 per cent derivation, establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the recent creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as some of the benefits that would be enjoyed when a region aligns politically with the ruling party at the federal level.

The source added that while President Jonathan is glad that people of the zone have wholeheartedly identified with the ruling PDP, as the Party has sustained its grip and control of the region in the last 12 years, he is of the view that stakeholders in Delta must reunite to achieve the victory of Governor Uduaghan.

The source further stressed that the party eggheads are not unaware of the fact that Delta State could pose serious threat to the PDP if urgent measures to persuade the electorate are not taken. And as a result, they are taking maximum advantage of Governor Uduaghan's willingness to dialogue, as he has constantly done, so as to return to the umbrella all those who have deserted the party in the State.

This, the source further said, explains why President Jonathan who had on March 16 concluded his state-to-state campaign tour and earlier visited Asaba, the Delta State capital, on February 25, is paying another visit, this time to Warri, widely considered as stronghold of Delta politics, in view of its dens population.

Though the President is meeting with religious leaders while in the ancient city there are strong indications that he will focus on the need not truncate the ambition of the governor when he meets with political leaders in the state too.

A similar visit by President Jonathan on January 4 was all the tonic Governor Uduaghan needed to swell his popularity in the state which gave him victory at the re-run election held on January 6, 2011, following the annulment of his earlier victory by a court of law three years and Nine months after; a presidential gesture that the Governor remains grateful for.