By Charles Kumolu
FOR a region that was still grieving the loss of its states to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2007 governorship elections, it took a deluge of pledges by President Goodluck Jonathan and alleged high-powered deal with some leaders of the opposition, for the South West geo-political zone to vote massively for the President in the 2011 presidential election.
Though that pact may have played some critical roles in Jonathan’s victory in the zone, commitments made on issues affecting the region, are believed to have been key to that shocking victory.
A retrospective look at the promises made then showed that Jonathan among other things, pledged to complete the Lagos-Jebba rail project, complete the Ife-Ijesa dam, enhance agricultural irrigation; get industries in Lagos up and running, provide farmers with adequate information, invest in petrochemicals, mining, research and development and set up a committee to review Federal government landed properties in Lagos, hand over those that should and retain those that should be in possession of the government.
Four years since the assurances were made, an analysis of the specific promises, showed the administration succeeding in some and struggling to attain key parameters in other areas.
Currently, another round of promises have been made to the zone ahead of the February 14, 2015 presidential election.
The first of these, was at a November 2014 forum in Ife where Jonathan while addressing Yoruba leaders, promised the zone a better deal if re-elected in 2015. President Jonathan, who was accompanied by the National Chairman of the PDP Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, some ministers and members of the National Assembly described the South West as a key part of Nigeria which his administration must work with.
At the recent presidential rally held in Ibadan, the President promised to upgrade the Ibadan airport to international standard, complete Ibadan dry port, complete the on going Lagos-Ibadan Express Road and Ibadan/Ilorin Road.
He said: “I promise you if you vote for me and I come back as your president, I will resolve the corruption and my successor will not have any corruption battle to fight as I would have completely wipe away corruption from the land because I would have blocked all the avenues of stealing.
‘’South-West has produced great leaders who have contributed immensely to the development of this nation. South West has produced great leaders like, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SLA Akintola, Adegoke Adelabu, Adisa Akinloye, Lamidi Adedibu. These are leaders whose lives are worthy of emulation.
“ The south west leaders are the ones that gave me the idea of CONFAB and I want to commend them for the spirit of equity and justice.
“I was here in 2011 to campaign at this great Mapo hall. Because I was here you worked for me and I won the election. Today I am here to ask for your support again and I belief we shall be victorious. I have never disappointed you and we have done much for you on education, roads, and railway. Most of these people are not aware but we are committed to the development of this nation”.
Since feelings that the zone has been largely marginalized in the present dispensation, cut across party lines, it is left to be seen whether the promises would earn the needed votes.