22 February 2013

Nigeria: PDP Kicks Off Jonathan's Re-Election Bid, Mobilises Women for President

Photo: Vanguard
President Goodluck Jonathan second term cartoon

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday launched a subtle campaign to rally support for President Goodluck Jonathan's second term in office despite his claim that he would not like to be distracted by the thought of whether or not he would run in 2015.

It plans to mobilise five million women for his re-election, the party's National Women Leader, Dr. Kema Chikwe, said in Abuja.

This is coming as the wife of the president, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, defended her pet protect, The First Ladies Mission, stating it was aimed at improving the status of Nigerian women and providing employment opportunities for Nigerians.

Chikwe, at the launch of an almanac highlighting PDP women in politics, said: "We are even confident that when President Goodluck Jonathan returns in 2015, women would be talking about 50 per cent (of political post for women) no longer 35 per cent.

"As we give unequivocal, undiluted, unreserved and unlimited support and as we march with him to 2015, PDP women will reach the Promised Land."

According to her, the party would mobilise five million women for Jonathan's re-election through an internet-based programme.

"The PDP E-Women Network is a cyber driven platform geared towards the mobilisation of professional social media savvy young women to get involved in politics.

"Already, about 25,000 e-women have been mobilised. The target is to mobilise five million professional women by 2015," she added.

She told the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who represented Jonathan at the occasion that he should tell the president that PDP women are behind him.

"Tell him those PDP women in every nook and cranny, wherever we are, young or old, beautiful or ugly, tall or short, small or big, we are chatting to Nigerians: all we are saying, give us Goodluck," she told Anyim.

Chikwe said Jonathan had not only increased the slots for women in public offices to 35 per cent, he had also assigned women ministers to ministries that were hitherto the exclusive preserve of men.

She explained that the Jonathan administration was not only gender sensitive, but has given opportunities to women to achieve their optimum since he came into office.

She said that with the foundation being laid for the advancement of women by Jonathan, the next dispensation would attract more female governors and deputy governors.

"The most remarkable victory for us PDP women in particular and all women in general is not that Mr. President has appointed women to the most challenging ministries, that is, Ministries of Education, Petroleum, Finance, Water Resources, Environment and Defence; it is not only that.

"He has appointed a woman as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy; he has virtually dedicated the 2013 budget to women; Mr. President's dedication of 35 per cent of all construction contracts to women is really mind blowing to say the least. President Jonathan's benevolence to the women is unbelievable," she said.

The first lady, at the launch, said even if 100 parties ganged up against PDP, they would not defeat the party, adding that it is only the PDP that has implemented the 35 per cent slot for women.

She said she would never contest elections and that anytime her husband retired, she would go back home with him.

In defence of the First Ladies Peace Mission building, Mrs. Jonathan appealed to the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the N4 billion budgeted for the project as the building was not for her but for Nigeria, and would generate employment for the youths.

According to her, when two former first ladies - Maryam Babangida and Mariam Abacha - built the Women Centre and the National Hospital, they did not take over the buildings when they left government, adding that she would not take over the peace mission building after her husband's tenure had expired.

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