BY DAPO AKINREFON
MR Ben Nanaghan, a media consultant in this interview asserts that the proposed national conference will lead to the stability of the country. Excerpts:
Are you in support of the plans for a National Conference?
The national conference is the icing on the cake of President Goodluck Jonathan transformational agenda so far. It will give every Nigerian, every ethnic group, every geopolitical zone the golden opportunity to decide their future and unburden all hitherto bottled up frustrations, pent-up fury, and formally dissolve previously intractable and unresolved conflict areas.
President Jonathan himself has confirmed that the national conference is a unique opportunity to promote and enhance national peace, unity, stability and progress.
Of course the national conference is a step in the right direction. Like the cliché goes-it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. Most Criticisms of the national conference are either based on selfish and parochial group interests, mischief, ignorance or by political opponents of the president.
Are you supportive of those critics who say the president’s performance does not qualify him for a second term?
Who are the critics who say President Jonathan has not performed well. Let us by-pass the opposition party, the APC for now and search for these silent critics. Majority of President Jonathan’s critics are those who are no more benefiting from the corruption that existed before now.
The previous leaders of Nigeria are not happy with Jonathan for changing the old corrupt ways for transparency which finally will be in the best interest of Nigerians. Nigeria is a country that has always been ruled by cabals. President Goodluck Jonathan is trying his best to contend and reduce the influence of these cabals on government.
With five of the rebel governors declaring for the APC, what are PDP’s chances in 2015?
For me their exit from the PDP is a great relief as they had held the nation to ransom trotting from one state capital to the other each negotiating presidential tickets for themselves. It will also keep the PDP on the alert. It is also a healthy tonic for democracy as the competition for votes will become keener and more competitive. However we have not heard the last of this matter.
I personally do not see APC as a real political party because they do not have a coherent manifesto and ideology.
They only have an agenda which is to win the 2015 presidential elections by all means. They are not truly democratic and to say they are a progressive party is the greatest lie of all times.
How can a party which openly rejects intra party primary elections claim to be democratic? Any party or association that does not consider the peoples’ voice or decisions can not claim to be democratic. After all, democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people.
APC’s claim to being progressive has been rubbished by the same criterion.
You can see that the APC is neither democratic nor progressive. The APC has vilified and criticized PDP administrations as demonic, evil, corrupt, weak, undemocratic etc. And so why does APC need all its presidential candidates and governors from the same evil PDP?
Let us take Ondo and Edo States. As an Ijaw from Ondo and Edo States will you say the Ijaw communities have benefitted from these administrations?
The plight of the Ijaws in Ondo state is just a wee better than that of Edo State. In Ondo state, during late Chief Olusegun Agagu’s tenure; the Ijaws had a commissioner and later Secretary to the State Govt. Those are the Ijaws in Arogbo in Ese-Odo Local Government Area.
But for those under Odigbo Local Government Area, their plight is similar to that of those in Edo State. In Edo State, the Ijaws are like the serfs of 18th century Russia. We are treated even worse than slaves. No social services, no development of any kind whatsoever.
Why do you say the Ijaws in Edo and Ondo States have been neglected and marginalized?
After the Justice Umaru Abdullahi led court of Appeal reinstated Adams Oshoiomhole as governor, the then fire-spitting, fist-pumping union leader assured every child of Edo State (including the Ijaws of course) of qualitative and compulsory education up to secondary school level.
The governor’s speech we now know was a ruse to hoodwink the abandoned and marginalized coastal dwellers who shouted hosanna when the sugar coated governor barged in, in wolf’s clothings. It was a story meant for the marines.