Nigeria 2015: Day South-South leaders rose for Jonathan
BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, Deputy Political Editor
SATURDAY, August 3, 2013 was a special day for the people of Delta Central Senatorial District of Delta State. It was a day South-South leaders and eminent Deltans stormed the area to mobilize support for re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
As early as 7a.m on the day in question, all roads led to Sapele Athletics Club, Sapele from all parts of the district for an event billed for 10 a.m. And at 2p.m, when the rally, which was organized by former Minister of state (Education), Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi to unite the Urhobo Nation in Delta Central Senatorial District and mobilize support for President Jonathan’s transformation agenda, began, about 10,000 people had massed at the pitch of the club.
At the event, Elder statesman and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and some South-South leaders, insisted and advanced reasons President Jonathan should be allowed to do a second term.
According to them, President Jonathan deserved a second term because his administration had recorded a quantum of achievements since he came to power and as president he had carried on as a detribalized Nigerian without favoritism or subverting the Nigerian constitution for any sectional interest.
The leaders included Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State; Chief Godwin Ogbetuo; Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi; former Presidential Spokesman, Olorogun Ima Niboro; Urhobo Leader, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Chief Fred Sohwo, Hon Benjamin Iweta and Mrs. Patricia Efetobor.
North should back Jonathan as payback for past S/South support – EK Clark
Clark, who was represented by Chief Ogbetuo, chairman, Delta Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum, urged the North to back Jonathan’s re-election in view of past political alliances between the South-South and the North. “Considering the good political alliance between the South-South and the core North in the pre-independence constitutional conferences also in the First and Second republics, supporting the South-South aspiration in President Jonathan come 2015 is like payback time for the support of the region for the North in the past.”
He said: “The South-South geo-political zone of which Delta State is a part; holds President Jonathan, who is our illustrious son, in highest esteem. We are very proud of him because of his great accomplishments in all facets of human, economic, political and social development. He enjoys our support because of the uncommon transformation, ordinary masses, which are not blind-folded by pi-partisan politics, regional or tribal considerations are experiencing under his Presidency.
“These Nigerians are not interested in the politics of where the President comes from, or a president based on ethnic, regional or religious background. The President they want is a leader, who will give them food on their table, good education to prepare them for leadership and revival of our decaying infrastructures to sustain our harmony as a nation. This is what President Jonathan is doing since becoming President.”
He continued: “The South-South will support President Jonathan for 2015 because as a minority he is detribalized and had carried on as president without favoritism or subverting the Nigerian constitution for any sectional interest. President Jonathan sees every Nigerian irrespective of where he comes from, religious background, economic or political base as one united entity. The president today is a unity bridge that binds the South and the North together.”
Delta‘ll work for Jonathan, PDP victory –Uduaghan
Governor Uduaghan, who was represented by Delta State Commissioner for Housing, Chief Paulinus Akpeki, assured the president that Delta State, the Urhobo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had resolved to work for total victory for him and the PDP in 2015.
He commended the president on the transformation agenda, which he said had yielded results in critical sectors like transportation, power, education, physical development, social amenities and job provision.
He pledged the full support of Delta for President Jonathan because of his economy-boosting programme, curtailing of Boko Haram insurgency and upgrading of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurum, to a full-fledged university among others.
Jonathan has made South-South proud –Amori
Chief Amori said: “This is the first time that the people of Delta Central are coming together to back Jonathan. He is our son, we identify with him. Jonathan has done well and made South-South proud, come 2015, we will support him to go back to Aso Rock.”
Also speaking, Niboro, who recalled how he met President Jonathan when he was deputy governor of Bayelsa State and how he rose to become governor, vice president and now president, said the president had shown leadership and tremendous dexterity, who should be allowed to continue.
It is Jonathan or nothing in 2015 – Gbagi
On his part, Gbagi, a veteran Delta State governorship aspirant, who is aspiring to succeed Uduaghan in 2015, said it was sad that a section of the country, which believed that it had a birthright to rule Nigeria had laid a siege on the president. Noting that President Jonathan deserved a second term for many reasons, he said: “It is Jonathan or nothing in 2015. We have been having presidents from other parts of the country in the past. None of them was asked to terminate his tenure in his first term. It is an insult to the South-South zone to ask Jonathan not to run for second term,” he argued.
According to Gbagi, the South-South support for Jonathan was informed by his achievements since he came to power.
The achievements, he said include:
* Railway sector 2012: Rehabilitation of main Western line; Lagos to Kano (1,124 km) is completed and functional
* Road Sector 2012: 651 km of road constructed, 976 km of road rehabilitated, 1,002,343 sq km of pot holes patched through FERMA, five bridges constructed, 28 bridges maintained, improved travel time on federal roads to 90km/hr
* Education sector: 12 new federal universities established with first nine starting academic activities
* 5000 scholarships provided for staff of Nigerian tertiary institutions for Doctoral level study in Nigeria and overseas in addition to 101 beneficiaries of the Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) selected for training in the top 25 universities in the world.
* Security installation and deployment of over 2000 video surveillance cameras (CCTV) in Abuja and Lagos with 36 equipment rooms and 2 main switch centres in 2012; procured in first quarter of 2013, 3 helicopters, 275 Toyota Hilux pickups and 33 armored personnel carrier for police patrol
* Improved security in Niger delta leading to increase in oil production from 700000bpd to current 2500000 bpd
* Health, 1,500 primary healthcare facilities have been refurbished and supplied with essential commodities
* Sports Nigeria won 2013 African Nations Cup; Falconet made it to the semi finals of the women U-20 world cup
* Aviation, Government ha remodeled four strategic international airports in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt; installed several automated devices and equipment such as Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS)
*. Foreign Direct Investment increased by 46.07 per cent in 2011 to USD 8.91 billion. In 2010, it was USD 6.10 billion. In 2012, it was USD 7.03 billion, which enabled Nigeria remain the highest recipient of FDI inflow in Africa within the period.
– Via Vanguard