Politics

Jonathan/ Sambo: Best Option for Nigeria – Festus

Chief Desmond Bestman Festus is pioneer chairman of ASUU at Niger Delta University and founder/ National President Jonathan/Sambo Grassroots Ambassadors of Nigeria (JOSGAN). He spoke with SUNDAY ISUWA, saying the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari cannot stop Jonathan’s re-election bid. Excerpts:

Sir, what really are you doing in JOSGAN?

JOSGAN is an expansion of support groups. When Mr. President was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, some of us who returned from the United Kingdom looked at the future of Bayelsa in respect to the governorship election of 2007 and who will succeed Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha which must be determined by us. When we looked around, we narrowed our support down to Mr. President and we formed the organisation called Jonathan Goodluck Ambassadors of Nigeria (JOSGAN). I was the Bayelsa central senatorial coordinator at the same time I was in charge of the public image department.

Now, we at the grassroot decided that Mr. President’s second tenure means well for Nigerians and for the African continent. When we talk about courage at this moment, we are looking at leader who decided to go against the common thinking that the convention of a national conference may mean the end of a country where ethnic nationality will disagree and perhaps lead to possible disintegration. A leader must be courageous enough first to determine the future of the petroleum industry supported and push the petroleum industry bill. He was able to show courage by saying that look, we cannot continue to subsidize petroleum product at the expense of the commoners.

Secondly, the issue of the national conference, the end point of it was that those who remembered the unity of Nigeria, the first national anthem was sung in spite of the disagreement and the key thing is if that conference result is implemented as a developmental plan, most of the issues confronting Nigeria will be over. Most people have forgotten that the issue of corruption in this country is not unconnected with the structure of this country. We have a structure that is very microscopic. What I mean is that everybody runs to the centre and if everything is concentrated at the centre then the tendency for corruption will be higher. He also provided governance through the passage of Freedom of Information Bill that most people don’t even understand. It’s a pity that those who are highly corrupt are hiding under cover. Before now you cannot expose corruption, President Goodluck Jonathan said where ever you find corruption in my government let it be exposed. It was through that bill that Nigerians now have freedom. He has giving hardware; he has giving the two that will instil the character of leadership in this country. And so when people say corruption is overwhelming everywhere, it’s because you journalists and every other person can access information and release it without any intimidation. You can see that nobody has been assassinated. Who are you to come and expose corruption before now? Even from 1999 to 2007 or there about, you can’t try it, but Jonathan has provided that software. Now coming to talk about his capacity, people say government has done nothing.

Let us now say they may be right but if he has done nothing and the railway is moving, were they moving before? If you travel by road, you will see substantial and miraculous improvement on our road network. If you go to the airport, you will see differences now than before. This reminds me of the two slogans of the two political parties: APC says change and PDP is saying transformation. Now, change is about moving from somewhere to somewhere but transformation means a complete change of something either infrastructure or whatever from some undesirable situation to a near perfect or wonderful situation.

What are you doing to ensure that you endear voters to Goodluck/Sambo Campaign?

JOSGAN has a good product. Our message is that the highly educated, humbled, forward looking God fearing pair of Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo remains the good option for this country and that every Nigerian needs to see physically what they are doing. The man who led development agree and perhaps lead to possible disintegration. A leader must be courageous enough first to determine the future of the petroleum industry supported and push the petroleum industry bill. He was able to show courage by saying that look, we cannot continue to subsidize petroleum product at the expense of the commoners. Secondly, the issue of the national conference, the end point of it was that those who remembered the unity of Nigeria, the first national anthem was sung in spite of the disagreement and the key thing is if that conference result is implemented as a developmental plan, most of the issues confronting Nigeria will be over. Most people have forgotten that the issue of corruption in this country is not unconnected with the structure of this country. We have a structure that is very microscopic. What I mean is that everybody runs to the centre and if everything is concentrated at the centre then the tendency for corruption will be higher. He also provided governance through the passage of Freedom of Information Bill that most people don’t even understand. It’s a pity that those who are highly corrupt are hiding under cover. Before now you cannot expose corruption, President Goodluck Jonathan said where ever you find corruption in my government let it be exposed. It was through that bill that Nigerians now have freedom. He has giving hardware; he has giving the two that will instil the character of leadership in this country. And so when people say corruption is overwhelming everywhere, it’s because you journalists and every other person can access information and release it without any intimidation. You can see that nobody has been assassinated. Who are you to come and expose corruption before now? Even from 1999 to 2007 or there about, you can’t try it, but Jonathan has provided that software. Now coming to talk about his capacity, people say government has done nothing. Let us now say they may be right but if he has done nothing and the railway is moving, were they moving before? If you travel by road, you will see substantial and miraculous improvement on our road network. If you go to the airport, you will see differences now than before. This reminds me of the two slogans of the two political parties: APC says change and PDP is saying transformation. Now, change is about moving from somewhere to somewhere but transformation means a complete change of something either infrastructure or whatever from some undesirable situation to a near perfect or wonderful situation. What are you doing to ensure that you endear voters to Goodluck/Sambo Campaign? JOSGAN has a good product. Our message is that the highly educated, humbled, forward looking God fearing pair of Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo remains the good option for this country and that every Nigerian needs to see physically what they are doing. The man who led developmentin Malaysia was permitted to be in the office for 26 years. One of our greatest problems in Nigeria is change in government policies. Mostly, those changes are coming out of selfish interests. Here is a government that has decided to chart a new direction of leadership in terms of power. When the opposition talks about no power, the government of today decided to do something that is internationally accepted.

What we are saying is that if you allow this government to consolidate, in the next four years, we will be out of the problems of power supply. We will be out of the problems of unemployment. The reason is that power is the key driver of the informal sector and the private sector.

We have the people to carry the machines of mobilisation, we have a network in UK, and we have a network abroad. JOSGAN has gone beyond just ordinary politicking, we are saying that we need to protect our interest as a country. People go out there and tarnish the image of our country because they feel they want to take over from Mr. President but you see our right and respect as a nation must be there for anybody to continue to lead. As I talk to you the mobilisation in the north is massive. We also have structures in Lagos, in the south- west and in the south- south.

Is your support base religious?

We are not campaigning because President Jonathan is president from the South- South. We have a candidate that has touched more Muslims than Christians. The Almajiri’s are at the moment enjoying modern education; nobody can take advantage of their ignorance again. This man has decided to develop almajiri schools all over the North. He thought about dry season farming, it has become a marvel in the world. Jonathan is not the president of Ijaw people or Bayelsa, he is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Coming to religion, there are people that have made religion their political instrument of winning that has backfired.

The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician is interested in the next election date like the opposition. But Jonathan, as a statesman, is not even talking about his money, he is talking about the future of this country. Our country is for the youth. The unity of this country is important. I told my people that if we separate from this country, the wars we fight within the Niger Delta will be more than all the wars we fight under the country called Nigeria. We called on the people to look at the qualities and service record of the two candidates and vote for Goodluck.

Do you see any foul play in the distribution of PVCs in the geo-political zones?

As a comrade, there are two things that bother me. First, Professor Attahiru Jega earns his reputation as a former national president of Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) and again his respect as a political scientist but I see deceit and that is where my worry is. My present national president (ASSU) made a statement that even if government has shifted elections, that they should not bother, they should be patient. That means that there is a link between Jega’s action and my national president. ASSU is not a political party and is not supposed sound that warning. A professor of political science told Nigerians, in fact, he lied to Nigerians that he was ready for elections. Why did I say he lied, he knew that he was still printing about one million PVCs that would never have been ready at the day of the election but went on to say he was prepared to conduct the election. As chairman of INEC, Jega has no right to deny one qualified Nigerian from voting. Did you remember that Al-makura defeated the PDP candidate with just 500 votes? The APC candidate in 2013 said Jega is PDP. Today, they are very comfortable with Jega. That tells you that there is something funny now when you talk about PVCs. I don’t want to say what I don’t know but we investigated and found out that individuals have 10 PVCs. How did they get it? Software can be put into INEC card readers and disable it to the extent that every PVCs inserted can pass through.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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