The sleepy town of Ijebu-Igbo in the Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State literally came alive last Sunday when it played host to an array of dignitaries and some national, zonal and state leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Despite the efforts of a combined team of policemen, civil defence corps and other para-military bodies, there was a heavy traffic snarl as motorists meandered their way through the mammoth crowd of party faithful who converged on the expansive Goodluck Jonathan Political Centre built by the Chairman of Omoilu Foundation and Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the South West PDP, Prince Buruji Kashamu, to show their love and support for the PDP.
Located close to the Abusi Edumare Secondary School, the centre, which sits on 20 acres of land, comprises a 3,500 capacity hall (Goodluck Jonathan Transformation Hall), 10-room office space, five chalets of 20 rooms and a big open space.
Over 10, 000 members of the party from across the South West stormed the venue to welcome the August visitors, which comprised of the National Secretary of the PDP, Professor Adewale Oladipo; the National Auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju; acting National Vice-Chairman, Chief Ishola Filani; Ogun State PDP Chairman, Adebayo Dayo; his Ondo State counterpart, Honourable Ebenezer Alabi; wife of Ijaw National leader Edwin Clark, Dr. (Mrs) Bisola Sodipo-Clark and the National Coordinator of the Women For Change and Development (W4CDI), Hajia Rabi Ibrahim, among others. The chief host was none other than Kashamu.
The Ijebu Igbo leg of the activities, which included prayers for the safe return of the Chibok girls, performances, goodwill messages, reports and speeches from the party stalwarts, was preceded by an earlier visit by Hajia Ibrahim to the Oyo State office of the Mobilisation and Organisation Committee for the 2015 general election.
During the visit, Hajia Ibrahim declared that with what she had seen on ground, the Kashamu-led committee would deliver the region to the PDP in 2015.
The National Coordinator of the W4CDI, who was accompanied on the trip by the Dr (Mrs) Sodipo-Clark, the Ogun State Coordinator of the group, Chief (Mrs) Abosede Ogunleye, her Oyo State counterpart, Alhaja Fatimo Salawu and that of Ondo State, were received at the Ibadan Airport by several women.
While addressing the women, Hajia Ibrahim said with what she had seen on ground, “Prince Buruji Kashamu is ever ready to deliver the region for the party.”
She said: “With what I am seeing, I am sure Oyo State is for the PDP and the PDP is Oyo State. I have been informed of the supportive role of Kashamu. He is doing a wonderful job because if not for his support, things would not have looked like this.
“I promise to report what I have seen to him, thank him and also encourage him to do more. The most important thing is for the National Working Committee of our party and the President to trust him. I also want to implore them to give Prince Kashamu the chance to deliver the South West to our party.”
In his welcome address, the Director of Organisation for the Committee, Otunba Adeleke Adekoya, said that the group “is mobilising for the party to win next year’s election convincingly”.
Adekoya expressed the party’s appreciation to Prince Kashamu, saying the party had appointed “political evangelists” to win souls for the party towards the 2014/2015 elections, adding that over 200,000 canvassers have been mobilised for the PDP across the six states in the South West.
In Ijebu Igbo, Oladipo led the mammoth crowd of party faithful on a prayer session for the safe return of the Chibok girls.
He urged the people to continue to pray for the Federal Government and support its Transformation Agenda, especially since the ruling party has remained the only political party to change its name, symbol and identity.
Filani was full of appreciation to Kashamu for his unconditional support to the party in the zone, saying “but for his selfless sacrifice, I doubt if the PDP would have been what it is today in the South West. Unlike most of those who go to Abuja with flowing agbada to lie to our leaders, only to return when the elections are around the corner, Kashamu has been there for the party at all times.”
Dayo urged all party faithful to play a role in building a united and formidable party, insisting that such role should not be left for the leadership alone.
He said that as a big party, the PDP was bound to face some differences among members but such disagreements would be resolved amicably.
Kashamu, who said the expansive property would be known as Goodluck Jonathan Political Centre, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, noted that he was buoyed to name it after the President because of his commitment to internal democracy, democratic ideals and the rule of law.
He said it was such disposition that made it possible for him and others to be able to ventilate their views and bring about a new order in party politics in Ogun State and the entire South West geo-political zone where the people, not a powerful few, will determine their own fate.
“Our dear humble and humane president has shown in words and actions that he is irrevocably committed to allowing due process to prevail in whatever he does. Look at the way he handled the recent issue in the aviation sector. When his detractors were losing their heads and calling for the immediate sack of the officials, he said he would follow due process. At the end of the day, he followed the due process of law and did more than what his detractors were clamouring for,” Kashamu said.
He blamed the security challenges facing the country to some fifth columnists who “are deliberately promoting violence and insecurity” to blur Jonathan’s achievements in all sectors of the economy.
To Kashamu “They (the fifth columnists) feel that they are holding the short end of the political stick so they must pull down the house because of their selfish interest”.
He insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan is a victim of circumstance and expressed the view that the Jonathan presidency was divinely ordained.
“No amount of sabotage and blackmail can stop a man on a divine mission,” Kashamu noted.
He reiterated his earlier call on the president to publicly declare his re-election bid.
“Time is running out. He (president) has consistently told us that he would declare his position this year and I wish him to do just that without further delay. Otherwise, our dear president would be falling to the tricks of the opposition,” he said.
Kashamu stated that as a father, he was touched by the kidnap of the over 200 Government Secondary School students in Chibok and prayed for the safe return of the girls.
The Abuja team, comprising of Hajia Ibrahim and Dr (Mrs) Sodipo-Clark, among others, later visited the state headquarters of the W4CDI in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where they expressed satisfaction with the level of activities at the office and the performance of members of staff and volunteers.
Popular Apala musician, Musiliu Haruna Ishola, churned out some of his classic tunes to the admiration of the guests.
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