When the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) took over the air waves some months ago, the group was categorical in its vision and mission. Their steps, voice and body language were sure, definite and focused!
It has remained the only properly identifiable backer for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. Their opinion has remained that the numerous landmark achievements of Jonathan were under-reported, under-publicized and to a large extent swept under the carpet surreptitiously, albeit by those hired by same Jonathan to package his works and administration.
TAN, a vision conceived by Dr Ifeanyi Ubah, a contemporary Nigeria political gadfly, was bent on changing the usually rowdy and confused political atmosphere during elections.
The excellent strides of Jonathan need no bad name because TAN has now taken the message of his welfare package and achievements as they affect every village and hamlet to the door steps of all.
The group started with rallies across all the six geo-political zones.
At the grand finale at the Eagle Square, Abuja, yesterday, the TAN’s Director of Operations, Benchuks Nwosu, expressed appreciation to Nigerians, especially supporters of Jonathan and the PDP for their prayers and standing by them in its six-leg nationwide rallies.
Going down memory lane, Nwosu noted that the rallies kicked –off in Awka, Anambra State on Aug 16(South-East), then Ibadan, Aug 23(South-West), Port Harcourt (South-South), Minna (North Central), Gombe (North East) and the tumultuous Kano rally (North-West)..At each of the stops, the TAN train brought with it heart-warming messages of Nigerians through the mouths of Ministers, national/state assembly lawmakers, ambassadors, business moguls, musical and Nollywood stars who honoured the group and Mr. President with their cherished physical presence. They all sang, danced and made merry all the way.
Uniquely in addition to their business of the day at the Gombe and Kano rallies, the group donated large consignments of relief materials to victims of insurgency..
Ahead of the grand finale, yesterday, TAN mobilized nearly 15million lovers of peace and peaceful co-existence and supporters of Jonathan to appeal to him to accept to stand for re-election next year.
This, according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius, showed “the deep appreciation of people of the Nigeria from the various zones in the good work President Goodluck Jonathan is doing in the country, hence want him to continue.” The general perception and positive appeal, he noted, cut across age, gender and social class barriers. The Publicity Secretary of TAN, Enugu State chapter, Mr Ugulu Ugulu,saw TAN as the flagship organisation in the campaign for the re-election of Jonathan.
Whereas the much expected declaration or at least acceptance to run for the 2015 presidential election by the President at the grand finale of the TAN rally ended on a very high note, it was without any word from Jonathan.
The President, who was visibly absent at the rally, had his Vice, Namadi Sambo, commending TAN for raising over 17 million signatures of potential voters through constructive engagement in his support. This development, according to Sambo, was a manifestation of the President’s popularity. He, therefore, urged TAN not to close shop after the rallies grand finale, but to device a more comprehensive strategy to support Jonathan all through.
Abuja stood still for the grand finale. As early as 7am, delegates from all over the country started arriving to plead with the president to seek a renewal of his mandate. The mammoth crowd caused grid lock in the city as groups tried to outplay one another in pleading with Jonathan so that he can consolidate on his landmark achievements.
In his welcome address, TAN Director of Public Communications and Strategy, Dr Udenta Udenta, said the success story of the advocacy group has become a message from all Nigerians across every spectrum . He urged the President to answer the call of Nigerians to seek another four year tenure so that he can deepen and consolidate the good work he has accomplished in the first tenure. The Chairman of the People Living with Disability, Mallam Umar Tahir, from Nasarawa State, said that none of the predecessors of Jonathan identified with the disabled like the President. He expressed the preparedness of the disabled to give a bloc vote Jonathan should he decide to answer the clarion call of Nigerians to run again for the presidency.
The National Coordinator of Women for Change and Development Initiative, Dr Rabi Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of women, said women all over the country, irrespective of political leanings, were around for the rally.
Ibrahim commended TAN for its unique efforts to galvanize the voices of all Nigerians into a very strong one. She pleaded with the President to answer the call of Nigerians yearning for more of him. Mr George Chukwu and Mr Chris Udechukwu, who spoke on behalf of Nigerians in diaspora, especially those living in Canada, UK, Ghana, South Africa, said they are excited about the laudable achievements of Jonathan in his first tenure. The duo pledged the support of Nigerians abroad to the second tenure of the President.
The Deputy Senate President, Rt Hon Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke on behalf of the members of the National Assembly who graced the occasion, said senators and members of the House of Representatives are solidly behind the President and urged him to answer the call of Nigerians to go again for the presidency come 2015.
Mrs Deziani Maduekwe, the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her agriculture counterpart, Dr Adesina Akinwumi, who spoke for the South-South and South-West respectively, extolled the virtues of Jonathan and the achievements recorded by the President’s transformation agenda. The duo joined their voices with those of all Nigerians to plead with the President to run again for the presidency in another mandate in the 2015 general elections.
The PDP Governors Forum, led by Akwa-Ibom State Governor Obong Godswill Akpabio, saluted the courage, candour and maturity with which the President has continued to display in the leadership of the nation, even in the face of daunting natural and man-made challenges. The Minister of FCT, Alh Bala Mohammed, thanked TAN as well as all well-meaning Nigerians for their love and support. He vouched implicit support of the FCT for Jonathan and his administration towards 2015.