Last week, to the dismay and pleasure of many, President Goodluck Jonathan finally declared his ambition to run for re-election in 2015. Mixed feelings have no doubt trailed his performance as president since his election in 2007. In this interview, Hajia Bilikisu Ohiani-David, National Coordinator, Goodluck Initiatives ’15 (Gio 15), fields questions on why Jonathan deserves a second term, citing instances of his work in the lives of women and youths. It would be recalled that Gio was one of the few groups that campaigned for Jonathan’s election in 2007.
By JOSEPHINE AGBONKHESE
You’ve always said that Goodluck Jonathan has done well for youths and women. Now, two basic areas that even oppositions are crying foul are security and electricity supply. With these also gravely affecting women and youths, how will you convince an average Nigerian to still support Jonathan in 2015?
When you talk about youths, in agriculture for example, he has touched them through the Youth Enterprises with Innovation in Nigeria (YOU WIN) which is the administration’s job creation masterpiece. Talking about youths again, as of last year alone, we produced 1.1million metric tonnes through dry season rice. Now, majority of farmers and youths from the North who usually wait for raining season before farming, will tell you that they now profitably engage in farming during the dry season. That alone has created job for them.
Now, talking of security, Goodluck Jonathan is in fact the first president that has built 127 almajiri schools. This will not only benefit these children but also help curb insecurity. Now, most of these children know their right from left and cannot be used to perpetrate evil.
In the area of electricity, if we choose to be sincere, we will agree that the situation is better now.
Talking about women, Jonathan is the first president that signed into law 35% appointment in government for women. He has been able to give to women about 15 to 20% allocation so far and we know he will do as he has said.
This is not just about supporting but voting. Now that permanent voters card are being distributed, what should be the response of youths and women?
Thank you very much. We have over 10 million members across the country and they have their voters card and that is what we are working on because supporting without a voter’s card is useless. We have 36 state coordinators enlightening the grassroots about what Goodluck is doing. We know what we are saying and we are praying Almighty Allah will empower Goodluck Jonathan to complete the work he has started in Nigeria.
I learned you voluntarily joined Jonathan train simply because he declared we were all one Nigeria, irrespective of ethnic diversities. Talk, like we know, is cheap. How has he proved this oneness since 2007?
Look at what he has done with almajiris. His predecessor, late President Musa Yar’Adua, nursed and shared this dream of salvaging almajiris and despite his death, Jonathan has kept this dream alive. See how he has also empowered farmers in the North to make sure farming continues even in dry season. Even the poorest in Nigeria will attest that there have been plenty of food for Nigerians this year without any scarcity. This is a man from the Niger Delta, remember. Look at what he is doing in various sectors. We know that if he is re-elected, he will do more to unite Nigeria and that is what we stand for; divided will fall.
He is uniting Nigeria, you claim. But how come crisis has not eluded the North since he came into office?
A lot of people have publicly vowed to make this government ungovernable for him. But despite these challenges, he struggles and still succeeds in fulfilling his plans for our general good. To be sincere with ourselves, is he touching lives in each sector of the economy or not? Imagine the heat from oppositions wasn’t there. He would have done perfectly well.
Hundreds of lives have been lost since he came into power and there are indicators and prophecies that this might worsen in his next tenure. Don’t you think sacrifice is a hallmark of leadership and Jonathan should sacrifice whatever desire for power he has and step down to prevent more deaths? He cannot dance to the tune of enemies. He will continue to stand strong and do all he can to fight insurgency. His zeal is to curb this glitch and we believe things will be better if he is re-elected.