By LUCKY OJI
Mr. Mba Okoroafor, National Coordinator, Goodluck/Sambo Vanguard, is an administrator/financial expert. In this interview, he speaks on the just-concluded PDP primary and strategies put in place to ensure Jonathan wins in the forthcoming presidential election.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), just concluded its presidential primary where President Goodluck Jonathan emerged the party’s flag- bearer. How do you feel and what is your assessment of the whole exercise?
I feel great and excited. As a group, the Goodluck/Sambo Vanguard, we feel highly elated. We are grateful to God. We saw it coming and we knew it would happen that way.
The organisation of the primary and the voting pattern were very perfect. It is hard work that brings good game; we saw it coming by the work of everybody like the Director-General of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, Mr. Gulak and other members of the team. It was a job well done. So, we are happy.
We saw Jonathan winning Atiku in his home state (Adamawa) and even in Yobe, the home state of Malam Adamu Ciroma, the arrow-head of Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF), which adopted Atiku as the consensus candidate for the North. What is your comment about that surprise performance?
People go out fighting without taking care of their home fronts. This is hard- work for Jonathan and everybody working with him. We knew Atiku would not make it in his home state (Adamawa) because a solid job had been done there. Even in Yobe, we knew he would not win because of the groundwork already done by Jonathan and his group. You see, when you see that somebody is coming somewhere and he wants to play tricks, you give him a hard fight. What we did in Adamawa and Yobe was to fight harder than usual to ensure we got those places and we eventually did.
What should we expect in the April general election?
You should expect a landslide victory for Jonathan/Sambo. I make bold to say that we shall win everywhere; we shall win all the states in the North. Any place we didn’t get good result in the just-concluded primary, we would put in 50 per cent more efforts to get them; states like Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano and Niger. We would redouble our efforts to clear all states that Atiku won in this primary during the general elections in April.
What is your reaction to the allegation by the opposition that Jonathan bribed some delegates?
There is nothing like bribing delegates. What is done in politics is called lobbying. To the best of our knowledge, delegates were only lobbied and lobbying is just to convince them about one’s programmes. Basically, lobbying simply means convincing somebody with your programmes and not with money. Jonathan didn’t bribe anybody with money.
If people bribed, we know those that did that because some people were saying that somebody was going about spending so much money. To the best of my knowledge, Jonathan doesn’t like spending money; he has never given us any kobo. We have been doing this job from when he was vice-president and he has never given us any money. He kept telling us that he doesn’t want to do anything that the opposition will use against him; he has always told us to go and work and serve our fatherland.
A court injunction barred Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo from parading himself as the national chairman of PDP and he eventually resigned.
What does this action portend for our democracy and PDP?
Well, that is the beauty of democracy — freedom of expression and association and ability to go to court when aggrieved.
What is your assessment of the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the general election?
I think INEC is doing well; it is preparing well and this is where we have a point to make. INEC cannot do everything, it will do its job and the people will also do their own job. And, we are asking Nigerians to go and register in order to vote in the April elections. INEC has put every machinery on ground to ensure that people register to vote. Everybody that is up to 18 years and above should go and register. It is not enough to say ‘I love Jonathan’ without registering to vote.
If you love Jonathan and you are not registered to vote, you are not helping him. We want everybody to go out there, support INEC and register. Everybody should register to vote because INEC is doing a good job.
In a nutshell, what is the Goodluck/Sambo Vanguard telling Nigerians?
What we are telling the whole nation as I earlier said is to go out and register to be able to vote in April. Second, they should bear in mind that for the presidential election, they are voting for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Alhaji Namadi Sambo because they are well-prepared and eminently qualified to carry Nigeria to the next level.