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What Jonathan Told Sanusi, The Emir of Kano



Since the flag off the presidential Campaign by President Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos, the campaign train has been to different parts of the country to sell the Jonathan candidacy. After covering the South Eastern part of the country which is seen as the president’s stronghold, the campaign train moved to Sokoto which is seen as the religious capital of the Islamic faith in the country. Flagging off the north western campaign was significant in several ways. Apart from being the home of the Sultan of Sokoto, the leader of the Muslim faithful in the country, Sokoto is one of the states PDP cannot count on for the President’s re-election.
At the palace of the sultan of Sokoto where the president made the first point of call, the president used the opportunity to assure the people of the state and the north in general that the assumption that he hates the north was fallacious and should be ignored in totality.
According to the president, the fact that his administration decided to confront the challenge of the Almajaris by establishing the schools underscores the importance and interest he has for the people. He told the audience at the campaign rally that if voted into office again in February, the good things that his administration is doing for the country would not only be sustained but improved upon.
But the visit of the President to the Sultan of Sokoto provided an opportunity for the foremost religious leader to tell the president, nay politicians some home truth.
According to the Sultan, rather than place emphasis on religious sentiment in the course of their campaigns, politicians should leave religion aside and concentrate on how they intend to improve the welfare of the people of the country.
“ I will say never in the history of this country have we faced the kind of very serious challenges as we are facing now. The whole politicking had been turned into religion of ethnic matters and this should not be so because we see what happens across the world.
“We are worried because religion has been brought into it. We made it very clear in 2011, there was no way religion would be a part in the election campaigns or even the election itself.
“As you have seen here, I think there are more Muslims in this room than Christians and coming here now for prayers for success of your campaigns goes a long way to show that as the leader of the Muslims, I have no choice but to pray for you” he told the president.
From Sokoto, the president moved to neighboring Kebbi where he emphasised the message that had been carried along through out his campaign so far: that  his administration remains the best for the country.
Appealing to the sentiment of the people, President Jonathan told the people that his choice of Professor Attahiru Jega to head the Independent National Electoral Commission underlines his confidence in Jega and indeed the state as a whole.
“We appreciate the people of Kebbi State so much. We have confidence in you and that is why we are talking about elections.
“We selected a son of Kebbi State, Prof. Jega, to be the number one umpire in this country. It is because of the confidence we have in him to be an unbiased umpire”.
Although the president’s campaign rallies in Sokoto and Kebbi recorded a fair but not large crowd, what happened in Gusau, the Zamfara state capital was a pleasant surprise to the presidential team. Apart from the Mammoth crowd that welcomed the presidential team, the passion with which they expressed their acceptance of the candidacy of the president put a lie to the widely held view that the president would  be thoroughly defeated in the election.
The campaign rally of the president in Kano provided an interesting scenario. It would be recalled that shortly before he was crowned as the Emir of Kano following the death of Alhaji Ado Bayero, the relationship between Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,  the erstwhile governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan had irretrievably broken down. Sanusi had accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of failing to remit some money that had accrued to nation from the sale of Petroleum products, into the federation account. The allegation which attracted wide publicity within and out side the country was interpreted by some persons as a veiled attack on the president. The climax of the cold war was when the president failed to congratulate Sanusi as the Emir of Kano following his emergence.
For many people, the forgoing background would present a difficult scenario to the president who had made it a point of duty to visit prominent traditional rulers in all places that he had gone for campaign.
But to underscore the relevance of interests in the affairs of politicians, President Jonathan put aside the ugly incidence of the recent past and paid the traditional homage to Emir Sanusi in his palace.
In an ironic twist of fate, while the Emir of Kano was at the mercy of the president just some few months ago, the president was in Kano, at the palace of the emir as a favour seeker!
He told the emir: : “I am here to seek your royal blessing and to reassure the people of Kano that PDP is totally committed to developing the country”.
As if taking a cue from the ugly incidence that happened in Katsina, the president’s campaign rally in Bauchi received a less than warm welcome as security agents had a running battle with some urchins who pelted the president’s motorcade with pebbles on Thursday. The stoning of members of the VIP at the podium in Bauchi was the climax a foreboding development that needs to be nipped in the bud as quickly and swiftly as possible. It is not enough to mouth that we want a free,  fair violence-free elections. We must consciously work to ensure that this is achieved.

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