Diezani Maduekwe, Ifeanyi Uba, Jerry Gana, Other Faces Behind Jonathan’s TAN Unmasked
From Television advert to radio jingles and now the rallies currently ongoing in the six geopolitical zones of the country, the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), has dominated the political landscape in the past few months.
TAN is pro-Jonathan group demanding the President to throw his hat into the ring come 2015 and has been doing so with all means possible, not minding the legal implications involved.
Although the group has denied been funded by the government, investigation by Sunday Trust reveals that the sponsors are very powerful government officials many of whom have been involved in one form of corruption scandal or the other.
The report unmasked the forces behind the transformation ambassadors’ project
Awka, the headquarters of Anambra State in the South-East of Nigeria came alive on August 16, 2014. It was a day of political fanfare as thousands converged at the popular Ekwueme Square where the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) held its maiden rally calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare for the 2015 presidential race. The event attracted notable dignitaries of the Ndigbo extraction including former vice president Alex Ekwueme, former Senate Presidents Adolphus Wabara and Ken Nnamani as well as Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim. Others were senators and members of the House of Representatives, party chieftains and political appointees from the zone.
For speaker after, speaker the message of the day was clear: a demand on President Jonathan to hearken to the ‘clarion’ call by declaring his interest to seek re-election in the 2015 presidential election. To seal their demand for Jonathan’s endorsement in this regard, delegates from the zone said to have been drawn from the wards, local governments and states of the South-East zone reportedly appended 1.6 million signatories demanding Jonathan to contest in 2015.
The train of the transformation ambassadors moved westward to the historic city of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State in the South-West on August 23, where a similar rally was staged. The Ibadan rally which held at the popular Liberty Stadium was reportedly attended by former deputy national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, Ekiti State Governor-elect Ayo Fayose, Minister of Defence, Musiliu Ogbanikoro, Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, as well as other political bigwigs from the zone. According to the organizers, a total of 1.8 million signatories were collated from delegates endorsing President Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015.
In continuation of the zonal rallies TAN defied calls from the opposition APC to suspend the event over Ebola threat and moved to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where it held the South-South rally yesterday. Like the previous rallies which had in attendance Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, the Port Harcourt event was also attended by ministers from the zone including Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Mike Olomememen, Nyeson Wike. Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio was represented at the occasion by his SSG which also had Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in attendance.
After the Port Harcourt rally, TAN is expected to take a recess for two weeks after which it would move to the northern part of the country, with the North-Central rally in Minna slated for September 13 while that of the North-East will be hosted in Gombe on September 20. North- West will take its turn on September 27, with a rally in the city of Kano while the grand finale is expected at the Eagle Square, Abuja on September 30.
The unseen forces behind TAN. Although TAN claims to be a non-political, non-governmental organization designed to promote good governance, its activities have raised curiosity concerning the main agenda of its formation as well as those who are behind the project. Some of them are serving officials in President Jonathan’s administration. Udenta Udenta, the director Communication and Strategy of TAN said: “The Group is comprised of professional men and women, youths, businessmen and women, artists, artisans, sportsmen and women, physically challenged persons, widows associations, Christian, Muslim and native religious groups, community, traditional and market leaders, opinion molders and analysts, farmers, school teachers, trade unions and all the masses of Nigeria that are committed to the ideals of good and quality leadership, order, unity, peace and progress of our nation under the constitution.”
TAN also encapsulates its mission statement thus: “To assist and be part of the transformation of the second 100years of the existence of Nigeria a nation that will visibly transcend the threshold of under-development, overcome the challenges of diversity and enthrone our collective vision of a nation where good governance, natural justice, equity and good conscience become the hallmarks of quality leadership which is in conformity with the status and standards of other developed nations of the world.”
To many political analysts and observers, the activities of TAN and similar groups mushrooming across the length and breadth of the country, especially in the build up to next year’s general elections, leave much to be desired. With the zonal rallies aimed at galvanizing the people to persuade President Jonathan to come out and contest in 2015, not a few critics have suspected an ulterior political motive behind TAN. A common feature in all the rallies held so far is the physical presence of the SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, who is said to be one of the forces behind the TAN agenda. His presence at the rallies is believed to be a tacit endorsement of the project by the presidency. Similarly, Sunday Trust learnt that Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezeani Allison Maduekwe is another powerful force behind the TAN project. Mrs. Maduekwe’s face has become a ‘signature tune’ in all TV commercials, jingles and newspaper advertisements sponsored by TAN. Also associated with the TAN project, according to Sunday Trust checks, is Anambra-born business mogul, Ifeanyi Uba, who a source described as “one of the financial backbones of TAN.” This is in addition to other close political associates of the president, especially those within his ‘kitchen cabinet.’
Other notable names behind the TAN project are Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Emeka Wogu, Professor Chinedu Nebo, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu and former Federal Road Safety Commission boss and current Aviation Minister, Mr. Osita Chidoka.
Apart from TAN, there are other amorphous political pressure groups calling on President Jonathan to seek re-election in 2015. One of them is the Vibrant Transformation Awareness and Leadership Development Initiative (VITALDI) whose national coordinator is Senator Saidu Kumo from Gombe State. Former Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, is also among the think-tanks of VITALDI, in addition to former Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika. Like TAN, the main agenda of VITALDI is also believed to be the actualization of President Jonathan’s re-election ambition. Other similar groups which are now sprouting all over the place are: Northern Youth Coalition for Jonathan, Mothers of Vision Initiative, Northern Youths for Jonathan 2015, Friends of Jonathan, Neighbour-to- Neighbour, Yoruba Coalition for Jonathan, Liberal Eagles, and the Green White Green Vanguard.
Justifying TAN’s formation and its zonal rallies, however, Udenta, said: “TAN is a public enlightenment organ; an engine to translate the possibility of governance into effective reality.
TAN heats on the idea that President Goodluck Jonathan has done very well in his first term in office. But these grand achievements of his national transformation agenda are sometimes buried in false media narratives, both the local and the international media. Therefore, for us to sift through the contents of these narratives to see where reality begins and where perception takes over; our conclusion is that while he has done so well he has not been showcased sufficiently.”
On the zonal rallies, Udenta said: “The major thrust of the rallies is to test out our skills; we started with public advocacy using cutting-edge technology and powerful social media content. But how do you now know that you have sent your message across and the people are listening? You have to go to the people in the various states and zones and ask question: are you on the same page as us? If you are, then these are our registers with names and telephone numbers for you to sign up your signatures that the president has done very well. South-East collected 1.6 million; South-south 1.8 million. The idea now is that it is not just us talking; Nigerians have taken over the conversation and the issue is out of our hands we have penetrated their minds that the man has done very well.”
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com