By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS — The two leading presidential candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) are today and tomorrow shifting their focus on the South-East with separate bids for the zone’s 6.6 million voters.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Buhari, is trying to puncture the seeming strength of President Jonathan in the South-East with rallies and town hall meetings in the zone today.
The tension shadowing the efforts of the two contenders are expected to be tempered today at a joint meeting between the two contenders and President John Mahama of Ghana.
The meeting, it was understood, is expected to provide an opportunity for the two major contenders again to pledge a determination to abide by the rules of the contest.
The APC candidate is expected to attend a strategic meeting of the party’s governors and senior party officials in Owerri today.
Buhari is also expected to preach his message of change at the South-East zonal rally holding on the sidelines of the meeting of the governors and senior party officials.
Following the meeting, the APC candidate is to proceed to Onitsha where he is expected to have an interactive session with traders and religious leaders in the commercial city.
Buhari, according to campaign officials, is also expected to provide assurances to the traders during the session of his determination to ensure a conducive environment for their businesses to flourish.
Buhari’s visit to Onitsha is coinciding with a visit to the same town by First Lady, Patience Jonathan, who is also scheduled to hold a women sensitisation rally in the commercial city.
Mrs. Jonathan, who has maternal links to the South-East, is expected to appeal to the sentiments of her Igbo brothers and sisters in keeping their in-law in office.
Jonathan’s town hall meeting in Aba
President Jonathan is himself expected also to visit Aba, Abia State for a major town hall meeting with the business community in the South-East.
At the town hall meeting, the president is expected to address the concerns of the business community, giving facts and figures on the efforts of his administration in bolstering the environment for small and medium scale businesses.
The president’s renewed interest in the South-East is on the strength of recent mutterings from some stakeholders that the president had disregarded the region and put his focus on the South-West.
President Jonathan swept most of the states in the South-East in 2011 and got more than 90 per cent in most of the states.
However, his political supremacy has faced challenges on account of allegations of inefficiencies in the system.