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Special Report: TAN Claims Over 4 Million Signatures Collected For Jonathan 2nd Term Bid

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, Nigeria Bureau, Lagos

Against the wide public outcry in the same regards owing to outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), in the country, the South-South campaign/rally by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), to actualize the second term bid of President Goodluck Jontahan has just been rounded off at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, with declaration of 4,176,000 total endorsement signatures collected from the geo- political zone.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

Secretary to the Federal government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim made the declaration ahead of formal opening of the signatures’ register at the pro-Jonathan campaign.

Elated Anyim asserted that the signatures, the highest in the country so far, was a statement and an indication that President Jonathan was loved and supported by his people, hence their approval for his yet to be announced second term ambition.

While given the breakdown of the signatures from the six South Southern states, Anyim informed that Rivers recorded 1,100,000; Akwa Ibom 800,000; Bayelsa 516,000; Cross Rivers 520,000; Edo 490,000 and 750,000 Delta signatures.

He stated that for now, the zone was in the lead, yet any zone wished to beat it, was free to do so. Anyim who reportedly demanded for ‘GOODLUCK’ musical rhyme from the rally’s band group, pledged to go back to his zone with a view to working harder and getting more signatures to endorse Jonathan’s second term ambition.

He congratulated people of the South – South and promised them he would relay their resolve to Mr. President and equally feed them back on his (Jonathan’s) reply.

While officially opening the signatures’ register, the former Senate President stressed that the the register was not fake as it comprised the names, local government areas and telephone numbers of the supporters appending their signatures, saying it was available and verifiable for anyone who wishes to so.

The rally had in attendance the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) zonal and national chieftains, including the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odilli among many others.

It would be recalled President Jonathan few weeks back warned Nigerians against public gatherings as a way to check and effectively help efforts to contain wide spread of EVD in the country.

Similarly, the Federal Government announced postponement of resumption date to October 13, for the new academic session of Nursery/ Primary and Secondary schools in the country.

Coincidentally, Minister of Health confirmed on Thursday confirmed the country sixth Ebola casualty in Port Harcourt – Dr. Iyke Enemuo, who treated ECOWAS envoy that had contact with the first and only index case, Liberian – American, late Patrick Sawyer, who died over a month ago in Lagos. The latest death brought to six total of Ebola casualty in Nigeria.

DDM, a network organization of non governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Niger Delta Region is one of the interest groups in the country that cautioned against the Saturday rally among many others. It did this in an open letter to Mr. President Friday.

Noting that the virus has become a major challenge to public health and critical concern to the country, West Africa and indeed the world, DDM’s letter a copy of which was sent to African Examiner and signed by its Convener, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, noted its demand was not political and has no grouse against TAN’s rally, yet stated it is ..” our responsibility at the same time to promote, protect and demand for the rights of citizens and aliens alike; as it is your duty under our Constitution to assure the security and welfare of the people, which is the primary purpose of government.

“Your urgent intervention in this exceptional circumstances, which if not attended to, could endanger the existence of our society and the principles upon which it is founded is required”.

The organization which reminded President Jonathan about medical advice on the need to avoid body contacts, which is basically the easiest and common form of transmission of the Ebola virus, contended that the right to health of the Nigerian public was far more important than any politicking in any guises at this point in time.

DDM hazard stressed that TAN’s campaign in Port Harcourt Saturday ran contrary to extension in the resumption dates of primary and secondary schools in the country, for the same reason as well as Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu’s warning against large gatherings of people until Nigeria was totally free Ebola spread.

“Mr. President, for the avoidance of any doubt life, liberty and security are the fundamental precepts of any system of human rights. It is to secure them that “governments are instituted among men.” All universal declarations and conventions of human rights incorporate them; all civilized states recognize their essential nature and guarantee their protection. The reports of the United Nations characterize life as the “minimum human right” which “no government has the right to deny arbitrarily”, the letter insisted.

Nsirimovu maintained it was unfair and unjust to jeopardize the efforts to contain

the spread of the disease by allowing TAN rally to hold at this time in Port Harcourt, suspecting that it could not be ruled out that there may be others, “who may try to live in denial, hence the risk of more transmissions of the disease in the State”.

DDM therefore urged Mr. President, to rise up to his responsibility by curtailing the spread of the deadly disease among people, by calling the leaders, members and all persons involved in the planned TAN rally and campaign in his favour to cancel it, adding that, politics was secondary to the health and lives of citizens.

The plea yielded no result as the rally held with large attendance of people. The South Western zone of the Pro- Jonathan campaign held last Saturday in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital.

Will President Jonathan yield the public adivice and call for suspension of thses rallies, which is in line with his earlier caution to the Nigerians, but which his political organs hold on to with impunity?

The rallies also run contrary to the country electoral constitution which does not allow political campaign almost six months to the next general elections.


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