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President: Changing times and tide

In the past few weeks, groups that had hitherto stood on the fence or had distanced themselves altogether from President Goodluck Jonathan, who had declared that they would look elsewhere for another candidate in the presidential poll in 2015, have suddenly turned in a new verdict: Dr Jonathan will be the man to beat in 2015 if he decides to re-contest! They are even asking those not in their new camp to join them.

To be sane, they are seeing what others do not see. I am referring to the South-west politicians, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership, the South-east, the North-central, the South-south, and the North-east among several others who have unanimously endorsed Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election.

Another prominent group, the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA), led by the respected former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, has endorsed Jonathan for a second term. The group declared recently after a two-day meeting in Lagos: “ …the Assembly passes a vote of confidence on Mr President and notes that within the realm of constitutionality, nothing inhibits him to seek re-election if he so desires.”

Also, founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has joined those calling for a second term for the President. He had been critical of the administration but, today, he says Jonathan “should be given enough time to prove his mettle.”

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and respected Second Republic senator, Bode Olowoporoku, have also thrown in support for an encore for Jonathan in 2015 with the latter saying: “Jonathan’s adoption (for 2015) is a good omen for the country … This is the first time the minority will have the opportunity to rule the country.

Therefore his adoption for a second term would be a welcome development … It is the minority who do
not want Nigeria to scatter.  The other major ethnic groups had one time or the other threatened the unity of Nigeria.

Therefore giving him the opportunity of second term is a good one.”
These groups and notably the prominent individuals, who are not given to frivolity, would not risk their hard-earned names if they did not believe in  Jonathan. So what are they seeing that is moving them to put complete trust in Jonathan’s Presidency?

First, let us throw away our skewed thinking caps blocking us from noticing the positive changes in our nation under this government. Secondly, let us desist from misanthropic criticism that seeks to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And, thirdly, let us admit that Jonathan is operating in a war-like situation where the gains you make are only discernible after you have contained the enemy.

Those who laud the President have exorcised these demons from their souls and are now able to see the grounds the
country has covered under the present administration.

Today, the amnesty deal for former agitators in the Niger Delta is being applauded as highly successful. Prior to this scheme, youths bent on fighting the state with the last drop of blood because they believed they had nothing to lose, have, today, thanks to the Presidential Amnesty Programme, being executed by the Jonathan administration, being given hope for a better tomorrow.

Rail transportation, which had been abandoned by successive governments, has been revived.

How about power? The Federal Government has commenced plans to generate additional 4,000 megawatts of electricity from coal. This will eliminate our dependence on the erratic traditional sources of hydropower and natural gas.

The agriculture sector has also witnessed pacy developments with immense benefits to millions of farmers. The two biggest initiatives are the move to repeal the Land Use Act of 1978 to free land for massive investment in agriculture as well as the revolutionary plan to launch “Nagro-preneurs” to involve about 760,000 young commercial farmers (graduates) from the universities.

It is policies of this nature that recently earned Nigeria an international award in the war against hunger. Serious-minded observers have noted them as salutary developments and interjections that cannot be ignored.

Those who see these with unbiased eyes, who previously sat on the fence, are now jumping into the field, saying
the man behind these transformation projects deserve to be saluted not condemned. They cannot be wrong in the face of the overpowering evidence everywhere.
* Daniel Alabrah is Head of Media and Communication, Presidential Amnesty Office, Abuja.


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