Ethnic minority groups in Lagos back Jonathan
It was a carnival like atmosphere at the premises of the Nigerian Navy Grounds, Apapa, Lagos recently when colorfully attired guests trooped there in large numbers to support the reelection ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 election.
The rally was organised by ethnic minority groups in Lagos as part of their mobilization effort to garner support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Jonathan.
Indeed, the stance of most of the speakers at the well-attended event drawn from the different tribes in the South-South region as well as supporters from the South West and South East zones who took to the podium to canvass support for President Jonathan.
In his welcome address, President, Ijaw Professionals (Lagos), Amagbe Kentebe said the purpose of the rally is to give support to Jonathan. According to him, “We call on everyone to support and vote massively for Mr. President at the coming presidential polls.”
Regent Youmor, an Ijaw Nation Peace Ambassador said the Ijaw elders under the Ijaw National Congress (INC) under the platform of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Ijaw Peoples Assembly (IJA), Ijaw People in Lagos (IPL), Ijaw Peoples Monitoring Group (IPMG) felt it is necessary to invite our neighbours, such as the Igbos, Yorubas to come together in Lagos to sensitize them.
“We are all aware of the political dispensation. We are having a subtle rally to tell our friends the need to vote for Goodluck Jonathan.
“We want to remind them that we should seize this opportunity because it is an opportunity which we may not have in many, many years to come.
“If other sitting presidents had two terms, then Jonathan should have his turn. We should give him an opportunity to complete his two terms. We are not asking for more, give us our two terms, it is constitutional and if we have followed that arrangement, we would not be wasting money on elections now. We should all agree that Jonathan is having his second term. They want to disenfranchise us, but we won’t take it.”
Youmor added that his message for Nigeria is that there should be peace. “Nigeria is the giant of Africa. African countries look up to Nigeria. If Nigeria misses it, it means that Africa has missed it. The eye of the world is on Nigeria. So, we must allow peace to reign during the coming elections, we must not allow anything to scuttle democracy.”
Chairman, INC, Lagos chapter, Otunba Patrick Hebrew Keku said that the rally was necessary to sensitise the electorates on the need to get their Permanent Voter Card as well as sensitize other ethnic groups about the need to vote Jonathan.
Reacting to claims among the opposition that the president does not merit a second term, he stated: “That is a negative opinion by some people. They are entitled to their opinion, but we are saying that Mr. President merits a second term because if you compare the achievements of past presidents of the country with that of Jonathan, then you will know that he has done much for Nigeria.”
For the social critic and activist, Ms Ankio Briggs, there is no alternative for Jonathan at least for now.According to her, “We are mobilising for Goodluck Jonathan. The need for mobilizing for him is vast.”
She said the postponement of the election from February 14 to March, was a blessing for the country otherwise over 30 million people that are registered to vote would have been disenfranchised.
“So this mobilisation is very apt. This is the right time, and I am proud to be part of this.” While stating that INEC was not fully ready to conduct the elections as at February 14 , she maintained that the postponement would give millions of voters an opportunity to go and look for their cards, “and give people more opportunity to have a voice.”
Meanwhile, Beena Youdeowei, a Lagos based businesswoman, said Nigerians should vote enmass for President Jonathan based on his achievements, which she enumerated to include subsidy removal, elimination of thousands of ghost workers in the Civil Service, stopping of the fertilizer scam and making fertilizers easily available to farmers among others.
“We have a brother whom we should recognise, rise and stand with him. So, go out, get your PVC and vote for President Jonathan,” she added. Victor Okhai, a communications expert, film producer, actor and Nollywood patron speaking at the rally on behalf of his colleagues in the industry gave an insight into Nollywood’s unflinching support for President Jonathan.
According to her, “The truth is that, we in Nollywood were once regarded as jesters, nobody took us seriously, we were to be heard and not to be seen when important discussions or decisions were being taken. “But for the very first time, a president recognised that the greatest PR that this nation has is not even sports but Nollywood.
Through Nollywood, we have been able to export our culture, our fashion, our architecture, our language and our traditions to the rest of the world. He has condescended and sat with us to dine with us, people who have been considered nobody and he has elevated us. So why will we not support him?”