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Published On: Mon, Aug 18th, 2014

South-East rally: What TAN did not tell the people

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President JonathanBy Ochiaka Ugwu

In total disregard to the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and repeated warning that it is illegal for anybody to start campaign for 2015 until the electoral agency says so, the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) held a campaign rally in South-East in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’sre-election bid.

The rally, which held in Awka, Anambra State capital last Saturday had in attendance the Secretary of Government to the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, serving and past ministers of South east extraction, billionaire businessman and Anambra gubernatorial candidate for Labour Party in last governorship contest, Chief Ifeanyi Uba, , Chief Theodore Orji, Governor of Abia State, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha and some National Assembly members and all the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts from the zone.

Given the personalities mentioned above, it shows the rally was organised with the full imprimatur of President Goodluck Jonathan, since most of them are very close with the president and have been championing his re-election bid.

The rally, which was viewed as the new age Daniel Kanu and his “Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha”,try to make Nigerians believe there are no presidential materials in the country who believe they can run Nigeria better than the current helmsman. They narrated how the present administration has turned around the economy, stabilized the naira, curbing insurgency, achieving uninterrupted power supply, making our hospitals to work again, creating millions of jobs for youth and fighting corruption in all angle.

The Abia governor, T. A. Orji, whom many of his subjects have dismissed as none performer said that nobody can upstage Mr. President in a free and fair contest next year given his performance in office. Even though Igbo leaders often lace their words with proverbs that convey more meanings than the obvious, during the rally most of them that spoke delivered their messages in direct terms.

To be clear, their message did not come in Igbo idioms that would have required some head-scratching for ordinary folks to decipher. They claimed to have been following the things that have been happening in the country, saying they have been praying fervently for Jonathan to be able to withstand the pressure. To continue the good work he is doing in South East and other parts of country for at least another term.

The question that naturally follows this interesting turn of events is: Why did TAN and the speakers find it necessary to adopt President Jonathan? And what are those “things that have been happening in the country”, which they claimed they have been following, and which they have assured the President that the Igbos are with him and would see him through?

An obvious answer that readily presents itself is the security challenges facing some parts of the country on account of the deadly activities of Boko Haram. Even the south-east region is not even spared of this security challenges, as kidnapping has become a daily occurrence and a family business in the zone. Poverty is at its peak. It is also possible that they are diplomatically referring to the unpatriotic utterances of some individuals who seem determined to lay the blame for all the challenges in the country at Jonathan’s doorstep.

By adopting the President, TAN and his co travellers may be clearly saying that in spite of the trying times, Jonathan does not need to worry unduly as he would eventually triumph against the challenges facing the country. Moreover, the importance of the endorsement cannot be overstated because, as representatives of the people as they claimed, their words convey a signal beyond their surface meaning.

One clear signal is that those who may assume that Jonathan can be insulted and harassed at will under the mistaken impression that he has no support base should think again. As prominent elements in the south-east, they are, in effect, telling Jonathan to stand firm; that his neighbours will never forsake him.

With such strong support from TAN people, it is expected that President Jonathan will show that he rightfully deserves these blessings by continuing to tackle Nigeria’s security challenges, building a unified nation, and creating the enabling environment for more Nigerians to achieve prosperity through their own genuine efforts.

However, TAN, who decided to campaign when the nation is in a mourning mood over continued killings across the North, national and international consternation on the abduction of 234 female students of GSSSChibok, did not tell the people why re-election campaign and jingles suddenly become their priority in the face of all these adversity.

Those school children have been abducted from schools, while many educational institutions have been shut unprecedentedly for the fear of terror attacks. In the country, weapons of mass destructions are beingsmuggled in successfully. Here, elders, stakeholders and traditional rulers are silent for fear of saying the truth. Government, despite its military strength for peace-keeping in the world over and trillions being allocated to security agencies, is now appealing to other countries to intervene in its national security while we have Commander-In-Chief

They also fail to tell them that the youth, who are regarded as the backbone of development in any society, are now agents of destruction. They are being sponsored to engage in illegal acts of thuggery, drugs, robbery, cultism, human trafficking, suicide bombings and apparently daily killings of innocents, especially in the northern part of the country by Boko Haram due to lack of jobs.

TAN did not tell them that immediately after Nyanya bomb blast that Mr. President without remorse went straight to Kano where he campaigned, joked, danced, and sang without due respect to the blood of the innocent Nigerians who were cut short in their prime for no fault of theirs.

Curiously, they informed that Jonathan has done a lot for the people as if the money was his. TAN has since diverted the attentions of Nigerians, as they do nothing other than shouting and making noise. They did not tell their audience how much Mr. President received from Federation Account till date and how he spent them.

None of the speakers or even TAN cared to tell the people about the missing $20 billion from the oil monies. If President Jonathan has done quarter of what the people credited to him at that rally, Nigeria would have been better than it is today. Most of the youth that graced the rally were jobless youth, who are direct victim of the present administration’sinsensitivity to plights of citizens.

Moreover, south-east chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while reacting to the rally and the so called endorsement maintained that President Jonathan has constitutional right to contest but dismissed the PDP leaders as “Ndigbo-Chop-Sand-Band,” who crave to put all their eggs in one basket, foreclose the chances of president of Igbo extraction and subject the hard working and enterprising Igbos to perpetual beggarly status.

“Otherwise, how come that up till date there is no Environmental Impact Assessment, no private sector counterpart funding, only N30b Sure-P-Fund taxed from the people and most importantly, why is the second Niger Bridge not captured in the federal budget, since according to the drummers Jonathan so loves Ndigbo?”

With this sad development, where only the President’s men protected by power of incumbency are campaigning massively across the country while other parties cannot campaign based on INEC guidelines, people are no longer considering the political field a level-playing ground.

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