Dr Tonye Owei, a consultant gynaecologist based in South Africa is the Coordinator of the Goodluck For Nigeria, GFN, an international pressure group formed to realise a Goodluck Jonathan presidency.
Dr. Owei in an interactive session with journalists speaks on why President Jonathan deserves the people’s mandate.
The Goodluck for Nigeria , GFN, initiative was conceived to be a worldwide body of professionals and business people pushing for the realization of Goodluck Jonathan presidency. What is the current status of the group?
Currently, we are mobilizing people to come out en masse and vote on Saturday. With thousands of members on our Facebook page, our GFN website, the vibrant groups in France , South Africa, Britain and Nigeria , our members are extremely passionate about the objectives of GFN and are committed to its realization.
Do you have the right support base to help actualize the Jonathan presidency in the election?
Certainly yes. Looking at our activities from July 2010 to date, we can confidently say we have the appropriate support structure to help us actualize our objective for a Jonathan presidency on April 16th.
This is because the GFN has not only been able to identify with the core campaign handlers of the Goodluck/Sambo team but we have also made our contributions in other areas.
If you look at our objectives, we have already achieved two, which are; convincing Mr. President to run for the office of president, and educating Nigerians on the need to support him and come out and be part of the electoral process.
The final objective: which is to see him emerge as the President, we will also achieve in the election.
Jonathan has been president for some 11 months. In what way would you say he was justified the confidence Nigerians in him?
Yes, without a doubt. Confidence is something that you earn naturally from people based on your personality, character and activities. Jonathan has earned the trust of Nigerians in the last 11 months and Nigerians have shown their confidence in him in varying ways.
Nigerians have recognized in him an honest, pragmatic and national leader, who has the interest of all at heart. The way he is systematically tackling the issues of infrastructural development, education, job creation etc. is also part of what has earned him the confidence of Nigerians.
For the first time in a long time, fuel has been consistently available to buy and at a regulated price nationwide. A realistic road map to ensure uninterrupted electricity is in place and is actually being implemented. The power industry is now getting the attention that it deserves as the catalyst for development, for the first time. We even see positive commentaries on the issue in foreign newspapers.
The President is revamping the refineries. This will not only bring back the jobs lost, but will also stop the importation of refined crude oil into the country which is absurd for a country like ours blessed with huge oil reserves.
To ensure the success of this plan, NNPC has signed a $23b refinery deal with China State Engineering Company. The interesting fact is that the project will be funded by China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, thereby bringing in the much needed foreign direct investment.
What’s your assessment of the electoral reforms programme?
He promised free and fair elections. Need I say more in this regard? The answer is obvious from the first set of elections of last Saturday. It was glaring to everyone and international observers. The report speaks for itself. I have no doubt that this trend will continue with the remaining elections.
The president is a democrat; he has not used his office to influence who governs any state. Instead he has allowed the electorate and the law to decide. Look at the by-election in Edo Central where the ACN won and he openly congratulated them.
He has allowed the election tribunals’ free hand to decide based on the facts before them. He is not imposing PDP candidates on any state. So, yes, I can say that Jonathan has justified the confidence Nigerians have in him.
If you were to advise President Jonathan politically, what would you tell him?
He should ensure that the democratic process empowers Nigerians, enabling them to decide their future. He should resist the past norms of a few individuals dictating the destiny of our nation. Let all Nigerians become the stakeholders in the building of our nation.
The conduct of the present election by and large will become the litmus test for the survival of Nigeria as a nation. I enjoin all to come out and vote and protect our democracy.