By Emmanuel Aziken
The ambience around the men and women gathered that day at the Presidential Hotel, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State was a contrast to the confusion around most of the country, especially up north.
Presidential politicking it seemed, had been suspended by the mainstream Peoples Democratic Party, PDP some ten days earlier following the upsurge in the activities of the notorious Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The sect against reasoning had rained two bombs on Nyanya, an outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory and followed it with the widely condemned kidnap of nearly three hundred girls from the Chibok Girls Secondary School, in Borno State.
However, the gathering of major enthusiasts of President Goodluck Jonathan, long planned before the atrocious events up north could not be postponed. Hotel reservations and commitments apparently had been made and hence, the inauguration of the Goodluck To Goodluck 2015 Project, generally known as the G2G Project.
Among the dignitaries present on that day, two were outstanding in their representation of two different political generations: Senator Ameh Ebute, president of the Senate at the peak of the controversy over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and Major-General, Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (rtd.), the PDP candidate in the 2012 gubernatorial election.
Both men, aptly represented what some would have called the old and the new generations. Whatever generations they represented, both men were at convergence in promoting a common project; to wit, the unfettered re-election of President Jonathan for a second term. Also present that day were former minister of transport, Chief Abiye Sekibo, PDP chieftain in Akwa Ibom, Sir Emem Akpabio among others.
Following his stint in the Nigerian Army, Airhiavbere, had in 2011 returned to join the political fray and eventually emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP for the 2012 election.
Despite losing the election, the former candidate seems not to have been disheartened and has taken more steps to consolidate his presence in the political space.
His latest political project is the G2G project for which he is the national chairman/coordinator.
Unveiling his new group penultimate Friday, Airhiavbere was unpretentious about the aim of the group which he said, was framed on their assumption that no one was in a better position to take over the leadership of the country than Dr. Jonathan in May 2015.
“It is our mission to leave Nigerians without any doubt that no-one is better qualified to take over the reins of power in 2015 other than President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan himself; hence the title of our platform – Goodluck To Goodluck (G2G) 2015,” he said as a matter of fact.
Continuing, he said:
“This organization hopes to highlight and re-sensitize the people of our great and dear country on the achievements made so far under manifesto of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Telling his audience that Jonathan and some of the events of his era were answers to prayers, he said:”There exists no doubt in my mind that President Goodluck Jonathan was God’s answer to our vision and prayers.
Under his leadership, Nigeria successfully celebrated its 100 years of nationhood (Centenary), its Golden Jubilee (marking 50 years of Independence), and convened the much-requested National Conference, while staying the course on an unprecedented Transformation Agenda – the most successful government program of its kind in Nigeria. It is already yielding tremendous results despite the hiccups and distractions posed by detractors and the destructive wave of terrorism.”
“Until President Goodluck Jonathan came to power, “continuity” was a strange word to Nigerian leaders coming into governance at all levels. Abandoned/uncompleted projects littered our great country’s landscape – over 3,000 in all, clear evidence of the lack of prudence that has plagued governance at every level in our nation.”
Noting the humility of the president, he said:”The fact that our current President does not “blow his own trumpet” should not blind us to the reality of his capability and performance as President. Maybe it is time for those of who know what he is doing for our nation to blow the trumpet on his behalf. Judging by his achievements so far, another 4-year term will only ensure that the ongoing process of laying a foundation for a better Nigeria is not interrupted.”
Giving the intentions of the group, he added: “It is our hope that the G2G 2015 Project will serve as a rallying point for interest groups across the country whether or not they are affiliated with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The only qualifying credential would be genuine readiness to work towards the continuity of President Goodluck Jonathan’s mandate beyond 2015, and the re-consolidation of the policies and values that brought greatness and national appeal to our great Party – the PDP.”
The guest speaker, Senator Ebute said it was not difficult for him identifying with the project as according to him, it is always a thing of honour to “identify with any cause that borders on national transformation and the promotion of our most cherished democracy.”
Speaking on the topic, “Jonathan-The Game Changer of Our Time,” he said: “President Jonathan’s election in 2011 was a game changer. His land-slide victory in the three geopolitical zones of the South-South, the Southeast and the North-Central and substantial win in the North-East and the South West changed the pattern of voting from regional or ethnic voting.”
Another game changer he noted was the philosophy of one man one vote, which he claimed was championed by the president. One feature which he said endeared him to the president is the humility of the president despite the enormous powers available to the Nigerian president.