‘We Won’t Lose Sleep Over MEND’s Endorsement Of Buhari’
Ebis Orubebe, Chairman of Niger Delta Youth Leaders Council and Director General of Jonathan Youth Vanguard, speaks on the recent endorsement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), saying it amounts to nothing.
ARE you not worried about the recent endorsement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)?
Our main aim at the Jonathan Youth Vanguard is to mobilise Nigerian youths and women in support of the President’s Transformation Agenda and his re-election next month.
It is also a platform we have been using to build friendship amongst the youths of Nigeria since 2010. We have a very strong network of youths, well over 10 million youths and women across the country today.
Jonathan’s numerous achievements in key sectors of the economy, particularly in the areas of youths and women empowerment, agricultural sector, improved education, construction of roads, housing development, rail sector, industrial revolution, the economy, oil and gas, healthcare delivery, privatisation of the power sector, fighting of insurgency with strong commitment and aviation sector reform, among others, will surely secure him a second term in office.
Therefore, for us, MEND’s endorsement of Buhari is inconsequential. Any violent group can adopt Buhari, including Book Haram, but we are not going to lose sleep over that.
APC has anchored its manifesto on security and corruption, areas most Nigerians believe Jonathan has not done well. Don’t you think that has given the party a chance in the election?
Anyway, which manifesto are you talking about? I am yet to see any such clear-cut manifesto. All we hear them say is that they will fight corruption and insurgency if their party wins, even though most of those opposition elements calling the PDP corrupt are the same known corrupt people in this country.
If they have the wherewithal to fight insurgency, let them tell us how they are going to handle it.
Terrorism today is a global issue and most countries in the world are having their fair share. So, it is not just peculiar to us.
The President, to the best of my understanding, is doing his best in the fight against corruption and insurgency. He is equipping our military with modern military hardware, as well as training their personnel for the current security challenges facing us.
What is your group doing to ensure Jonathan’s re-election, given that the presidential election is going to be keenly contested?
As a youth support group for the President, we are working seriously to educate and enlighten Nigerian youths and women for his re-election.
We have our structures in all the 36 states and the FCT, spreading from state, local government, ward down to polling units and have students and campus coordinators in all the higher institutions in the country.
We are also collaborating with other youth groups and associations with the same vision like ours.
And because this administration has emphasised on the need for votes to count, we have keyed into the one man, one vote campaign of the President and have directed our coordinators to sensitise youths in their domains to register and get their voters card, as that would be the only basis through which they can express their support for the President’s re-election.
Our various social media platforms currently on, for online campaigns is equally an additional strategy to galvanise Nigerian youths of the 21st century to vote for the man that is doing his very best in spite of our challenges.
But do you sincerely think he deserves re-election, given the state of the nation?
Like I said, this administration has done so well, despite the security challenges facing us.
So, for me, he deserves a second term to consolidate all the wonderful projects and programmes he has initiated to the benefit of Nigeria and all Nigerians.
Take maternal healthcare for instance, our pregnant women are now receiving free treatments, courtesy of MDG. We have Youwin and other SURE-P programmes that are positively affecting Nigerian youths and women.
Is it the graduate intensive scheme or federal government scholarship for First Class graduates to study in any of 25 best universities of the world?
There is agricultural revolution going on now. Our farmers are smiling to their banks. Our roads are getting better by the day. Trains are now moving in some parts of this country, providing cheaper means of transportation of goods and human beings.
We no longer sleep in filling stations before we buy fuel.
The President has been able to open up the democratic space for every Nigerian to express his or herself.
He is fighting corruption scientifically, thereby blocking the loopholes for people to steal monies.
He is fighting terrorism with all sense of responsibility. Our armed forces are being equipped with latest weapons to deal with insurgency.
Under Jonathan, Nigeria’s economy is the biggest in Africa. I can go on and on.
What advice do you have for the country’s youths as we count down to elections?
I am a peace-loving person and for that, I will advise all Nigerian youths not to take up arms against anybody in the coming elections.
Of course, the President has said at several occasions that his ambition does not worth the blood of anybody. So, why will anybody think of violence in the coming elections?