Pro-Jonathan Rally Holds In Port Harcourt

The Transformation Ambassador of Nigeria, TAN, a group campaigning for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, said it would go ahead with its planned rally in Port Harcourt, Rivers State today, 30 August, 2014 despite warning that participants at the rally might have been infected by the deadly Ebola virus. It was gathered that toth the presidency and the health ministry have failed to stop the group despite warning that such large gatherings could aid the spread of the virus that has so far killed six people in Nigeria. Speaking on the rally on Friday, TAN’s Director of Media, Udenta Udenta, said arrangement for a successful rally where the people of South-South zone would urge the president to run in the February 2015 presidential election, had been concluded. “The rally will hold,” Udenta told Premium Times on Friday night. “The Ebola issue is being over-hyped. We have sanitised every location and there is no cause for alarm.” It would be recalled that the rally, scheduled to take place at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, is coming on the heels of the death of a medical doctor, Ikechukwu Enemuo from the Ebola virus and the quarantine of over 160 people in Port Harcourt. After the outbreak of the deadly virus in the oil rich city, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu had promised that the Federal Government would take measures to contain the disease in Rivers just as it did in other states where the disease had been discovered. “The Incidental Management Committee, IMC, has already deployed a very strong team to Port Harcourt to work with the health authorities of Rivers State. “Just like the situation has been effectively been managed in Lagos and Enugu, the situation in Port Harcourt will also similarly be effectively managed and we have begun to do so,” the minister said in a press briefing. TAN held similar rallies in Awka, Anambra State, in the South East zone (August 16) and Ibadan in Oyo State in the South West zone last Saturday. At the Awka rally, TAN said it mustered 1.6 million signatures asking Mr. Jonathan to run in the February 14 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The group said it also collected 1.8 million signatures in the South West. According to statement released by TAN, it stated that after the Port Harcourt rally, it plans to shift the rallies to the northern part of the country with Minna in North Central zone hosting the next one on September 13, Gombe, North East September 20 and Kano, North West September 27. The grand finale of the rally holds at the Eagles Square, Abuja on September 30. However, some civil and political activists had criticised the conduct of the rallies. The opposition party, APC had on Thursday asked President Jonathan to stop the campaign. File photo of a pro Jonathan rally held recently “Mr. President, you said your ambition is not worth the life of any Nigeria. But the TAN rallies for your re-election are endangering the lives of thousands of Nigerians in these days of Ebola. Some things must simply transcend politics. This is one of them, Please stop the rallies now,” the party said in a statement by its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed. Also, a group, Buhari Vanguard, on Friday asked the president to instruct TAN to suspend the Port Harcourt rally. A statement sent by the group to the media read: “We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately instruct the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria TAN to suspend the scheduled rally until the Ebola Virus is successfully curtailed in Rivers state and other parts of Nigeria. Mr President is the chief custodian of the law in Nigeria and it will be ridiculous for the Chief custodian of the law to break the laws he has made without recourse.” would be recalled that Prfesident Jonathan on 8 August discouraging large gatherings to check the spread of the Ebola virus brought into the country on 20 July by a Liberian-America, Patrick Sawyerr. The president had said, “Religious and political groups, spiritual healing centres, families, associations and other bodies should, in the meantime, discourage gatherings and activities that may unwittingly promote close contact with infected persons or place others at risk.” Also, while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku directed that the Osun Osogbo billed for August 20 as well as other major events in the country should be suspended to curtail the spread of the virus. The insistence by TAN to go ahead with the rally runs contrary to directives given by the presidency. As at the time of compiling this report, the presidency is yet to release a statement on the rally. According to the World Health Organisation, W.H.O, about 1500 people have die

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