by Stanley Azuakola
More 2015 campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan flooded the nation’s capital, Abuja, this week. They were sighted on walls, bus stops and various other locations in the city.
This current batch, different from the last one which appeared in January, is sponsored by a group known as Nigerians Unity Project (NUP).
“To keep Nigeria’s Unity, Jonathan for Continuity in 2015,” was the inscription printed boldly on the posters with a picture of President Jonathan wearing a black attire and a bowler hat.
Beneath the poster was a message which shows one of the likely emotional arguments expected to be put forward by the Jonathan team in a bid to return to Aso Rock:
“Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (North-east) was given a second term in 1964; Alhaji Shehu Shagari (North-west), was given a second term in 1983; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (South-west) was given second term in 2003, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (South-south) deserves second term in 2015.”
The last time posters of the president were splashed all over Abuja, the president’s team were quick to deny any links to them. The posters did not have any contact address or phone numbers. But this time, there were phone numbers included in the posters.
After repeated tries to the three lines, The Scoop, got across to one of the initiators who responded to questions on the groups’s push for a Jonathan 2015 run.
We spoke to a man who gave his name as Igwe Kala Leo Ugomaduefule.
“Can you spell that one for us again?” we asked him.
“Okay, I for Image of God, G for God, W for Word of God, E for Emmanuel. IGWE. K for King of Kings, A for Alpha, L for Lord of Lords and A for Alpha, KALA,” he said.
The first thing we asked was if the president was aware, approved or had anything to do with the posters.
“We are not interested in whether the president approves it or not. The people sponsoring the posters are volunteer people. We have nothing to do with the president. What we are saying is that this is Nigeria and it belongs to all of us. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was from Bauchi in the North-east and was given a second term in 1964; Alhaji Shehu Shagari is from Sokoto in the North-west and was given a second term in 1983; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is from Ogun in the South-west and was given second term in 2003 also. So what we are saying is that what was done for Balewa, was done for Shagari, was also done for Obasanjo. The same opportunity should also be given to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We are a volunteer organisation who are so much interested in Nigeria remaining as one. And no segment should be marginalised. We are patriotic citizens of the country ready to fight for he/she that can’t fight for himself/herself.”
So how about people who insist that the president should be judged wholly by his performance in office and not by what part of the country he hails from, as we are all one, we asked Ugomaduefule.
“When you talk of performance, I want to tell you that President Jonathan has performed excellently,” he said. “If not for anything, keeping this country as one is an excellent achievement. The forces against this country only last year, if not for God’s grace this country would have broken. I don’t want to go into other areas, but you know that after Jonathan was elected in 2011, some people swore to make sure he does not succeed. They sponsored militancy and terrorism bombing churches, mosques, schools and markets. If Jonathan wasn’t there and the Southerners had responded, this country would have broken up, and become like countries like Chad, Togo, ‘small small’, not the giant of Africa. So that is enough achievement.”
The Scoop then asked him about the make up of the group, the Nigerians Unity Project. He is a southerner, but are all members from the south?
“We still have people from the North who have identified with us even though I’m from the South. Nigeria is a large country. No matter the idea you come up with you’ll see people who agree with you.”
The final question we asked Ugomaduefule was if his group was affiliated to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party?
He said: “The group has no party affiliation for now. I need to emphasise that. What we are doing is to tell Nigerians that this is the right thing to be done. This man shouldn’t be marginalised or bullied or intimidated because he’s from the smallest state in Nigeria. Those saying he shouldn’t run today, would you have stopped him if he was Hausa, Yoruba or Ibo? Why do they want him humiliated?”