‘APC deceiving the public on 2015 polls’
Christian Chukwudozie Udechukwu, a representative of Nigerians in the Diaspora during the 2014 National Conference in Abuja, fielded questions from newsmen, including Terhemba Daka, on the 2015 elections and criticism against the activities of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN).
On opposition’s allegation that TAN is peopled by embezzlers the fuel subsidy fund
THERE is no validity to the claim. I think that matter has gone through the court. It has been investigated by the independent agencies charged with such responsibilities and at the end of it; the verdict was one of acquittal.
The records are there in the public space and if anybody is in doubt, they are quite welcome to check the public records.
Desirability of another term in office for Mr. President on account of alleged failure
The word, failure, does not apply to Mr. President. Except, perhaps, for the first generation leaders in Nigeria, there is not a lot from then until now that has done as much as he has to advance the common cause.
This president is the one that has built more schools, more universities, built Almajiri schools far more than any other president in the history of this country.
That is the fact that is very much understated and has not been quite publicly acknowledged as much as it should. But he has invested more in education than any of his predecessors.
Second is that he has also modernised infrastructure far more than what his contemporaries did. Anybody driving around the country would acknowledge that the road infrastructure, the road networks are far better than they have ever been.
The airports are more convenient, user-friendly than they have ever been. These are facts that every Nigerian experience everyday and nobody can take that away.
People may want to deny it or try and should I say understate it but the fact is that the infrastructure in this country has never been better.
We had a period of over 30 years when a group of soldiers, who were friends, was competing over who was going to lead at every point in time and they held back the development of this country and didn’t invest in infrastructure
The investments that people are experiencing are a matter that picked up momentum in the last 16 years of democratic governance because the soldiers were barely allowed one project that their predecessors had begun to complete before they shot their way back again.
We’ve had 16 years of uninterrupted development and I wish that our history in the last 55 years had been one where we had a continuous development and investments in infrastructure, in our welfare. Today, the story would have been different,
So, there is every reason to give the president the credit he deserves for what he has been able to achieve.
On Diasporans’ endorsement of Jonathan for re-election and the president’s chances
I think that Nigerians all over the world know those who have contributed to their welfare and well being and those who have not.
There is no doubt, as far as the two candidates running for office of president are concerned, that one (General Buhari), during his time, banned you in the media, as well as everybody else from speaking freely.
At that time, there was no Internet, there were no computers, there were no mobile phones, there was no Facebook, there was no twitter and so on. Yet, they banned freedom of association and expression. He banned any discussion on democracy. He suspended the Constitution of Federal Republic.
And you have another candidate (President Jonathan), who signed the Freedom of Information Bill. Every Nigerian now has the right to know what the government is doing anywhere and anytime.
He allows freedom of expression. He allows freedom of association. He allows freedom of worship. He allows freedom of political commentaries and discussion. There are no political prisoners in Nigeria today, as there was in 1983/84.
So, you will have to compare those two candidates in the light of the freedoms that you enjoy today. Anybody can today call the president anything and still be walking around freely.
Many politicians and critics have done that without any threat to themselves, even to the annoyance of other Nigerians who are listening and saying, why are these people demeaning the office of the president without regards to what that office really means for Nigerians, both at home and abroad.
We have also heard and seen what the president has been able to achieve for Nigerians at home and abroad.
I can tell you from the discussions and the consultations that we have had that the president enjoys a wide level of support from Nigerians who live locally and internationally.
Possibility of violence in the 2015 elections, leading to disintegration of the country
The issue of the threat of violence in the upcoming elections has been coming from just one quarter. The president has not made any statement to that effect; INEC has not made any statement to that effect; it is the opposition party, the APC and their leadership and the current candidates who have made threats about the possibility and prospect of violence.
It is difficult to rationalise such a projection because it has built tension in the system. It is frightening investors; it is frightening ordinary Nigerians; it is even frightening those who are supposed to vote.
I think it is almost irrational for the party that expects to be voted for to threaten to generate violence against those who did not vote for them if they don’t win the election.
The president has cautioned all people who are involved, both the party members and the non-governmental organisations in the political process not to threaten anybody, not to be aggressive in campaigning, not to be violent in their conduct but to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election. That is what the president has been canvassing. Check all his public statements.