© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
First Lady Grounds Abuja With Campaign Rally
Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has been virtually grounded Thursday as wife of the President, Patience Jonathan pooled women from all over the federation to drum support for her husband’s 2015 ambition which is yet to be officially announced.
As state machinery was fully deployed it initially seemed like a siege as military and police patrol vehicles acted as forerunners to pave the way for the massive motorcade that followed behind, even as helicopters hovered in the skies.
Vehicular movement was halted for a while in different areas of the city as supporters of the President’s second term bid were drove past in lorries amid chants, choruses and dances.
Security agents manned strategic areas of the road during the parade
Each of the lorries bore the name of a state in the country and occupiers, men and women, wore uniform attires to depict the region they come from.
The carnival – like parade was massive and nothing short of a campaign as the posters that stuck on the body of the lorries testified.
Some of them read: “2015: Nasarawa Women Support Jonathan. Carry Go!”, “Imo women thank our gender friendly President”, “Abia women are solidly behind you our President. Ride on! God is with you, for you shall triumph”.
The event, which was a source of entertainment and amusement for some Nigerians who stood by the street corners to observe, drove fear into others who curiously asked “please what’s happening?”
As they stood to watch the rich display of culture and music, residents of Abuja analysed the cost implication of the jamboree and reflected on the on-going strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities which remains unresolved.
One youth observed that “they say they don’t have money to pay ASUU but see all the money they are wasting.”
“This Goodluck Jonathan administration is just wasteful and Nigerians are complacent. See these women dancing and singing here when their children have been at home for almost two months now,” said an even more upset young man.
Also, the rally tagged “Celebrating Women, Peace and Development” affected work in the city as government offices operated with few or no women, many of whom formed the crowd at the Eagle Square while others saw the event as a licence to rest at home.
The motorcade terminated at the Eagles Square amid the rendering of songs by Onyeka Onwenuand other musicians.
The first lady is expected to address the women at the Square later.