Ahead of next yearâ€™s presidential election, an election support group, Nigeria Mandate 2015, has urged northern political interest groups to start shopping for a credible candidate for the 2019 polls rather than seeking for the ouster of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
This came as a pro-Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign organisation,â€œThe Strategic Team (TST),â€ has called on the president to declare for the 2015 presidential election with immediate effect as further delay could be dangerous.
Addressing journalists in Abuja Thursday, the leader of the group, Dr. Ojona Okongor, said from all indications, Jonathan appears ready to contest for a second term and would most likely be returned by the Nigerian electorate.
He said though the group was drumming support for Jonathanâ€™s candidacy in next yearâ€™s election, it had also began a search for a northern candidate who is qualified to take over office in 2019,
â€œFor 2015, we will advise that the Presidential Villa is not vacant and there is no need people worrying themselves over spilt milk, there is no vacancy for the position until President Jonathan completes his second term by 2019. It is a matter of just four years and he will be through with his second term and after Jonathan, the next president of the country can come from the North or elsewhere.â€
Okongor said judging by Jonathanâ€™s achievements and the growing number of organisations and bodies clamoring for him to go for a second term, it will not be out of place to say that he is as good as having won the 2015 contest.
He said many Nigerians have seen the reason to support Jonathan because there had been some element of economic stability and improvement in infrastructure under his administration.
Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the National Facilitator of TST, Abdulrahman Sade and the Director General Mr. Daniel Ohiomoba, the group said the declaration by the president for the 2015 presidential election now was necessary because, â€he will win the election because of the interest of the future generationsâ€.
According to TST in the statement, â€œPresident Jonathan stands out when compared with other presidents of this country. It is on records that he stands out as one of the best that have ruled Nigeria.â€
â€œAccording to the group, despite the various security challenges, he has ensured that there is even development within the country. Today, there is improved electricity supply, good road network. Nigerians have started enjoying rail transportation and food security.
â€œThe Lagos-Ibadan Road is now back and Nigerians can travel from Lagos to Kano and to Maiduguri by rail. Gradually, there is more than 4500 megawatt of electricity with the major cities enjoying and 24/7 electric supply.â€
â€œThe national conference to discuss the problems and challenges of Nigeria with the unity of the nation not negotiable coming up in March this yearâ€, the statement from TST said.
According to the group, â€œwe are not just calling on the president to declare for the presidential election, but to contest and win because we do not see any tangible opposition to challenge him, because his records speak volume for him.
â€œWe are not calling on him to declare but to declare, contest and win the presidential election. When you contest election, you showcase your records. â€œPresident Jonathan has more than enough achievements as records to show for his efforts as president.
â€œToday in the North, we have the almajiri achools: support for girl child education, there is the setting up the SURE-P; by which more jobs are being created for the youths and eradicating fuel scarcity, the boosting of the economy through trade and investment, Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Law.
â€œToday in Nigeria, it is no longer carry-go, as a free and fair electoral system has been enthroned in the country. There is a free, fair and playing ground for all aspirants. It is no longer a matter of garrison politics with a garrison commander, but a level playing groundâ€, the statement said.
Accordingly, the statement from TST said their group is a coalition of grassroots that is vital to the success of project 2015 and draws a global membership and followership.
â€œWe are strong advocates of good governance, transparency, human rights preservation, good dividends of democracy, freedom and equity. We will use our collective experiences and influences to guarantee the success of President Jonathan at the February 14 2015 presidential election,â€ the statement said.