By Reno Omokri
My dear brothers and sisters, a number of you have asked me, particularly on Social Media, why I think President Goodluck Jonathan deserves your vote. I will use this space to answer that question headlong and unequivocally, because I believe with every fiber of my being that reelecting President Jonathan is the best course of action that Nigerians can take if we do not want to go back to the old ways in which the government dictated to us rather than related to us.
Everything about the emergence of President Jonathan as the candidate of the PDP shows his party and it’s candidate as the only truly national candidate. The National Convention in the Federal Capital Territory, which is known as the ‘Center of Unity’ was auspicious and befitting as the PDP is the only political party that projects one united and indivisible Nigeria.
Nigerians can take pride in the PDP and its pan Nigerian credentials. The party does not have regional bases. The whole nation is its base.
The ruling has a unique ability to unite as a party that goes on to unite Nigeria as a nation.
The PDP is the largest party in Africa and under this banner, we have grown our economy to the point where it is now the largest economy in Africa proving that as the PDP grows stronger, Nigeria grows stronger.
And with all due respect, the choice between the PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan and the opposition’s candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari is clear.
Lagosians who are today escaping Lagos traffic via the air conditioned Goodluck train must be under no illusion that this service just appeared from nowhere. No. It came about via a visionary long term plan whose ultimate goal when fully implanted will see a Lagos-Ibadan High Speed metro line that will enable people live in Ibadan and work in Lagos. The contract was signed in August 2012 for $1.5 billion and the management of the Chinese Firm CCECC has mobilized to site.
The project itself, being part of the Interstate Rail Project, has been listed by KPMG as one of the world’s top 100 infrastructure projects!
This is a fulfillment of the idea that Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande had way back in 1982-3 but which was delayed when the military thought they had murdered that idea by canceling the project. But that project has been given new life today by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration because as Thomas Sankara said “you cannot kill ideas”.
Some people erroneously think that President Jonathan will not do well in the 2015 election in Katsina State, but the people of Katsina will vote for President Jonathan because he built the only Federal University in Katsina state as well as the only 6 Almajiri schools in that state. Before the ascension of the President to power, Katsina and 11 other states had no Federal Universities.!
The 2015 election is about records. The President has his record and the opposition have theirs.
The days of selling a candidate based on his ethnicity, region and religion must go forever. 2015 must be about issues, records and ideas!
I, Reno Omokri, am proud to say that President Jonathan has never publicly or privately called for violence or bloodshed.
President Jonathan’s has bequeathed a good Human Right Record to Nigeria. No political Prisoners exist in Nigeria. No one is imprisoned for their views under President Jonathan. What is the opposition’s Human Right record?
When President Jonathan took office in 2010, it used to take an average of 7-8 hours to go from Benin to Lagos. Today, after the reconstruction. (Not repair) of the Benin-Ore road, that same journey can be done in 3 hours and the President sent the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to undertake the journey and verify the Estimated Travel Time on that road.
Some people say the opposition is coming to fight corruption and I ask them if they have seen the latest Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International 2 weeks ago?
Under President Jonathan, Nigeria progressed 8 points upward in the scale proving that the President is tackling corruption headlong.
The major progress Nigeria made in the 2014 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International are the result of the clinical surgical incision made by President Jonathan at the root of corruption in Nigeria.
Gone are the show trials that glorify style over substance with media prosecutions that do not lead to convictions. Under Jonathan, Nigeria has had more corruption convictions than at any other time and Transparency International noticed.
Remember that the Fertilizer Procurement and Distribution sub sector of the Agricultural sector was a veritable channel of corruption. Billions of dollars went into private pockets as middlemen inflated costs and supplied adulterated products to farmers. But under President Jonathan’s watch, 14 million farmers were registered by the Ministry of Agriculture who connected them directly to the product through an e-wallet system by which the Agriculture ministry send texts to farmers to go and pick up their fertilizer and seeds direct from their locality.
What greater anti corruption credential can you have than to weed out 50,000 ghost workers from the Federal Civil service saving Nigeria almost 350 billion Naira per annum?
As I speak to you, the Abuja-Kaduna Rail project has been completed, under budget and under the time frame for which this administration promised which is as a result of the new efficiency of the Federal Civil Service which, through the Federal Ministry of Works, had been able to supervise the contractors efficiently because no kickbacks exchanged hands.
My brothers and sisters, as I unveil my candidate to you, I am confident not only that he will win the 2015 Presidential elections based on his record, I will further call on you and other well meaning Nigerians, that If you value human life, please urge INEC to make candidates take an oath not to incite violence when they lose in 2015.
I sometimes wonder if the opposition think that President Jonathan is a time traveller. Why do I say so? When the opposition says Nigeria’s problem is Jonathan perhaps they should explain why we had problems when some of them where in power. Is it that President Jonathan travelled back into the past to create the problems they faced?
They say that President Jonathan has not achieved anything.
In that case is it that President Jonathan bribed the UN to say that Nigeria’s average Life Expectancy rose from 47 to 52 years under his administration, or he bribed the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to promote Nigeria to a Middle Income Nation in 2013 from a Low Income Nation before that? Or he bribed KPMG to list our interstate High Speed Rail project as one of the world’s top 100 infrastructure projects? Did he compromise the International Food Policy Research Institute to say that hunger has reduced in Nigeria under Jonathan from 16% to 14.1%?
I am not saying that Nigeria’s problems are all solved. How could they be? It took us 50 years to get to the point we were before President Jonathan became president in 2010. Surely it will take us more than four years to get out of the problems we faced for half a century.’
But one thing I can say is that we are making progress under President Jonathan. Elections are now free and fair and we have bade farewell to do or die elections.
People can say what they like and be assured of freedom of speech and freedom after the speech.
The era of politically motivated assassinations are gone.
Our railways have been revived, our major highways have either been revived or are in a state of being revived.
All those 12 states that did not have universities prior to Jonathan’s ascension now have universities.
In today’s Nigeria, you cannot name a state in Nigeria where Jonathan has not built either a brand new university, a secondary school, a hospital or a new road!
President Jonathan knows that a mind is a terrible thing to waste thus Jonathan built 150 schools for Almajiri. And then some say that he has only scratched the surface. My response to them is that if previous administrations had likewise scratched the surface, we won’t have 12 million children out of the formal education system in Nigeria!
President Jonathan is building schools in every state because if disadvantaged kids had schools in the 80s they would not have grown up into adults that believe that books are haram!
Those regions that did not have international airports before Jonathan now have.
Today, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan have opened up vehicle manufacturing/assembly plants in Nigeria even as the government, most especially the Presidency, is patronizing Innoson cars as official cars.
Nigerians want stability in their leader. You won’t marry a person who jumps from relationship to relationship, so why support a Presidential aspirant who jumps from party to party?
From 1999 till today, President Goodluck Jonathan has remained in one party come rain come shine. Who in the opposition can make such a claim?
Nigerians want to know what a candidate will do for them. They do not want to listen to candidates bicker like motor park touts. Even those that do not support the President or the PDP have at least heard of the Transformation Agenda. Have you heard of the opposition’s agenda?
As elections approach, expect more panic attacks from a party that spent its time insulting and criticizing the President instead of selling its ideas to Nigerians.
They say that they will form a parallel government if they lose in 2015. Under Jonathan, elections held in Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun. Which of them were rigged? Why is APC rejecting 2015 elections in 2014?
My brother and sisters, never allow those who swore that they were determined to make some parts of Nigeria “ungovernable” shake you and turn your focus from the verifiable progress Nigeria is making under President Goodluck Jonathan. I can assure that just as he said when he declared his interest to contest the 2015 Presidential elections, under President Jonathan’s leadership, Nigeria “will never go back to the old ways”!
Reno Omokri is Special Assistant to President Jonathan on New Media.