Dr. Frederick Fasheun
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
As the controversy rages in some quarters over the propriety or otherwise of President Goodluck Jonathan contesting the presidency in 2015, the founder and president of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasheun, has declared that Jonathan has the democratic right to run for the office if he so decides.
The OPC leader said that Jonathan should be allowed to enjoy his democratic right in 2015, if the electorate feel he deserves to serve them for another term of four years.
Fasheun, who fielded questions from journalists in Abuja yesterday, during a courtesy visit to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Hon. Kingsley Kuku, said having fought for the emergence of democratic rule in the country, his organisation would stand for anything that would make the system of government endure, adding that Jonathan has the democratic right to run in 2015.
He stated that the president was not a magician to fix in one breathe, all the multi-dimensional challenges confronting the nation, many of which had been part of successive administrations.
“I don’t believe that Jonathan is a magician to fix all the problems. The problems had been there long before his emergence. Let’s allow him to tackle the problems… Of course, we know that something more vital is at stake. Everyone knows that 2015 is around the corner and antagonists and opponents alike are desperately looking for ammunition to shoot down any perceived second term bid by Dr. Jonathan,” he said.
On pipeline vandalism, Fasheun noted that the issue had become an albatross squeezing the life out of the downstream sector of the nation’s petroleum industry, stressing that the nefarious activities of hoodlums hijacking oil flow through the network of pipelines to steal finished petroleum products had proved not only a local disaster, but an international embarrassment.
The OPC leader, who described the menace as behind the failure of the nation’s internal production and substantial dependence on imported petroleum products, noted that this was beside the thousands of lives that have been randomly and unnecessarily lost.
He noted that his organisation and its partners were offering to secure the entire petroleum pipelines network in the entire South-west states, and stamp out the menace of vandalism within 12 months.
He pointed out that today, even the worst critics of the Jonathan’s administration acknowledge that the regime has recorded notable improvements in areas like the power sector in terms of production, transmission and distribution, querying whether the same success story can be replicated in the petroleum sector, particularly with procuring solution for the problem of pipeline vandalism.
“One reason the problem persists is because agencies saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and securing the pipelines have succumbed significantly to some degree of compromise among the rank and file of relevant security officers and oil industry officials. That is why experts and observers alike strongly recommend that the government must think outside the box for the ultimate solution.
“On their part, the OPC, New Global and Business Limited and Armo Guard Limited, along with their foreign and local technical partners, hereby commit themselves to repeating for the petroleum industry the level of success they have so far recorded in providing community and corporate security in the South West. We promise to dispense that same level of dedication, discipline and efficiency that today guarantees safety and security of lives and property in our home zone. We promise zero tolerance for pipeline vandals and pipeline vandalisation,” Fasheun assured.
According to him, the OPC and its allies had undertaken extensive analysis of the problem of pipeline vandalism, outlined strategies and equipment required for securing the entire pipeline network in the South-west, assuring that if allowed to secure the pipelines, the problem would be stamped out completely within 12 months.
“With the proper motivation, sir, our operatives are ready to lay down their lives and limbs to safeguard the nation’s commonwealth. We will be throwing well over 30,000 ‘foot soldiers’ into this arrangement. That means a minimum of 30,000 jobs for a minimum of 30,000 Nigerian families who can thank President Goodluck Jonathan for their livelihood.
“Supported with a backbone of state-of-the- art technology, our fieldsmen will provide eagle-eyed security for every inch of petroleum pipelines throughout the South-west. We shall be working in synergy with the NNPC, the PPMC, the Police, the Navy, the SSS, and allied security agencies to ensure that we wipe out the problem of pipeline vandalism once and for all. This is a task that can be done—a battle that can be won. This is our article of faith. Rest assured we will not fail,” Fasheun promised.
He noted that Jonathan would write his name in gold should he go into history as the Nigerian leader who found the final formula for the nation’s perennial problem of pipeline vandalism.
Responding, Kuku promised to convey the message to President Jonathan, pointing out that the Nigerian leader has immense regard for the Yoruba nation, Fasheun and the OPC.
He thanked the South-west for the huge support given to the president in his 2011 presidential bid, in spite of the fact that the zone is predominantly in the opposition party.
Kuku acknowledged the immense sacrifice made by the zone in enthroning the current democratic dispensation, assuring that the Jonathan administration would not do anything to hurt the interest and well-being of the South-west.
The presidential aide regretted that pipeline vandalism had led to enormous human and economic losses both in the South-west and the entire country, noting that the Jonathan administration would support any decent means to stem the menace.