Mohammed: TAN As President Jonathan’s Dependable Ally
IT came like a whirlwind. Initially, many did not understand its purpose and intent despite deliberate far-flung explanations. Speculations abound in the land. However, the proponents of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, were undeterred despite the seemingly hostile environment of certain sections of the polity and from certain individuals who have this morbid feeling that Nigeria is their personal estate. For a very long time since the coming onboard of this administration, the media have been replete with falsehood against the person and character of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had done its best within the limits of resources available to it to douse the unnecessary falsehood being bandied around by some groups within the polity. But it seemed their efforts were not enough to make the necessary impact.
The party itself was bedeviled with internal squabbling common with a collective of individuals of different socio-cultural and economic background. PDP is undoubtedly a very large party, which claims the largest in Africa. It spreads across all the length, nooks and crannies of the country. There is hardly any part of this great nation that you will not find significant number of PDP members and sympathisers, be it far north, remote east or inland west of Nigeria. Even in states where the PDP does not control, it certainly makes significant impact on the political terrain.
Keen and unbiased watchers will agree that President Goodluck Jonathan means well for the country. He came at a time when impunity ruled the political airwaves of Nigeria. The time prior to the ascendancy of the government, in which he was the Vice President, Nigeria witnessed the darkest period in its history of governance. It was a time when elections held but were not allowed to count. How soon do we forget a time when we had a retired generalissimo maximum ruler, who was high and above any institution in the land: the legislature, the judiciary, the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC (which he created), the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the armed forces just to mention a few, which were deliberately made to be under his feet.
Armed with a doctorate degree, the first of its kind among our past leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan decided to deviate from this popular but vexatious norm of Might is Right. This is what many jaundiced minds saw and still see as weakness. Jonathan holds the rule of Law as sacred. He allowed all national institution an unrestricted freedom. He allowed the judiciary, the INEC as well as all other institutions to fester without fear of intimidation from the executive, a rarity in our very past.
All said and done, most sections of the media, which is expected to be a watchdog, looked the other way because those who control most of them also belong to the opposition. Painting Jonathan in dark tar became a pastime, with the exception of a handful. To the jackboot critics, nothing done with the best of intentions our President is seen in the positive light. The international community had no choice but to believe what is being churned out by this section of the media of my beloved country. More troubles for Mr. President!
Then, enter TAN. Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah is an outstanding businessman in Nigeria, having positively played a pivotal role in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. He is an industry numero uno and a young, brilliant and dynamic man who has invested so much in Nigeria, providing employment to hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the country. Probably as a result of the patriotic zeal in him, he saw the need to help in propagating the good dividends of democracy of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, so that the generality of the people, including foreign observers, would be able to have an independent assessment. A vehicle or structure has to be put in place for this. This gave birth to the now popular Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN. TAN operates away from the encumbrance of politics. Its other ethos could be described as apolitical. You do not have to be a politician to support President Jonathan’s transformation agenda. Within a short period of formation, TAN became a formidable movement very hard to ignore: you either love or hate it. You cannot be indifferent.
In order to achieve maximally, Nigerians from all walks of life, including those in the Diaspora, were invited to be part of the Movement. It was made manifestly clear from the onset that TAN was not going to be pretentious in propagating the good governance of the present administration. It engaged the best hands among the teeming youths to achieve this, irrespective of tribe, religion or creed. No Nigerian was left out. The only qualification is you being a citizen of this country. As part of the mobilization efforts for the government of Jonathan, TAN made use of road shows and other Public Relation and media strategies. Lots of events were sponsored, including all expenses-paid trips to the Word Cup in Brazil. The ubiquitous green white green Nigeria’s national colour became the adopted uniform of TAN, to demonstrate patriotism to fatherland.
TAN’s corporate partnership with Nigeria’s leading television houses (NTA, AIT and Channels) is legendary in the history of media usage in Nigeria. This is in form of the insertion and repeat broadcasts of 40 adverts on different aspects of President Jonathan’s factually demonstrable accomplishments fields as far flung as agriculture, education, oil and gas, industrialization, aviation, road and rail transportation, inland waterways, etc. The total number of television advert broadcasts stand at 40 till date. TAN also runs daily scroll messages in these stations on critical issues of national significance and all tailored to support and propagate the national transformation agenda of the President Jonathan’s administration. This is probably a response to the general belief, even till date, that President Jonathan, whether by design or otherwise, is the most un-hyped president Nigeria has ever had. Some have argued that based on his nature, he loves working behind the scene so that these works would rather speak for him.
With these high yielding efforts at highlighting the President’s various achievements, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah is no doubt a catalyst in the quest for equity and justice in our fast developing political landscape. The efforts of TAN will no doubt be recognised as a formidable chapter to the imminent return of the incumbent comes February 14, 2015.
• Mohammed is a media and PR analyst.