The power of openly-expressed choices come with personalised risks and eventualities – For personal reasons, you take a side, stand solidly by your decision and protect it with your final breath as exemplified by Nigerian actress and Google’s current Most Searched Nollywood Actress, Mercy Johnson Okojie who revealed to iCampus, where her loyalty dwells in the forthcoming general elections.
In an exclusive chat with the actress, she pledged her support for President Goodluck Jonathan citing several reasons and noted that she believes he should be given a chance to remain Nigeria’s president at the forthcoming February 14, 2015 presidential elections.
“He deserves another chance. This is a president who has good intentions for the nation. He is by no means a perfect man but he means well and he has apparently learnt from his weaknesses in the last four years. We must continue to believe in this great nation of ours. Nigeria belongs to us. The president cannot do it alone. He needs our help and we should not let him down at a time like this when he needs our votes to get the job done,” she said with an emotion laden voice.
Mercy Johnson also reminded Nigerians that President Goodluck Jonathan launched the Public Works Women and Youth Empowerment Programme, an intervention programme designed to employ 370,000 youths with 30% of those jobs being reserved for women.
It is important to remind ourselves that Nigeria is not isolated in the culture of entertainers openly endorsing political candidates and one country that had actors and actresses in the fore-front of endorsing candidates was the United States of America.
For those who might not know, prior to his emergence as president, President Barack Obama was officially supported by 224 actors and actresses. It is interesting to clearly state that the 224 actors and actresses was exclusive of musicians or entertainer from other arms of the entertainment industry (as they were on a separate list).
Below is a list of actors and actresses who openly endorsed Obama’s candidacy during his campaign into the White House:
Richard Dean Anderson
Michael Ian Black
Rachael Leigh Cook
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jonathan Del Arco
Robert De Niro
Portia de Rossi
Robert Downey, Jr.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Vivica A. Fox
Neil Patrick Harris
Taraji P. Henson
Samuel L. Jackson
James Earl Jones
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Jada Pinkett Smith
Vanessa L. Williams
We must however, realise that President Obama did not record 100 endorsement from entertainers as his rival, John McCain also had his loyalists (precisely 54 of them) within the American entertainment circle. They are:
María Conchita Alonso, actress
Stephen Baldwin, actor
Pat Boone, singer
Powers Boothe, actor
Wilford Brimley, actor
Jerry Bruckheimer, producer
James Caan, actor
Dean Cain, actor
Adam Carolla, comedian, television and radio host
Lacey Chabert, actress
Jon Cryer, actor
Daddy Yankee (Ramon Ayala), musician
Charlie Daniels, musician
Robert Davi, actor
Robert Duvall, actor
Clint Eastwood, actor and director
Erik Estrada, actor
Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter
Lou Ferrigno, actor and bodybuilder
Kelsey Grammer, actor
Lee Greenwood, musician, often performed “God Bless the USA” at McCain/Palin rallies
Angie Harmon, actress
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of The View
Patricia Heaton, actress
Victoria Jackson, comedian
Lorenzo Lamas, actor
Blackie Lawless, musician
Gerald McRaney, actor
Dennis Miller, comedian
Heidi Montag, Hollywood figure
Craig T. Nelson, actor
George Newbern, actor
Chuck Norris, actor
Ted Nugent, hard rock guitarist
Gail O’Grady, actress
John Ondrasik, singer
Joe Perry, guitarist for Aerosmith
John Ratzenberger, actor
John Rich, musician
Shauna Sand, actress
Tom Selleck, actor
Gary Sinise, actor
Kevin Sorbo, actor
Sylvester Stallone, actor
Connie Stevens, actress
Rip Torn, actor
Cowboy Troy, musician
Janine Turner, actress and author
Dick Van Patten, actor
Jon Voight, actor
Hank Williams, Jr. musician, often performed at McCain/Palin rallies
Gretchen Wilson, musician, often performed at McCain/Palin rallies
James Woods, actor[
David Zucker, director
Barely 48 hours ago, Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic equally bared her mind on the 2015 elections, the candidate who has earned her loyalty, her perspective and other related issues.
“I have followed the 2015 election with keen interest and have deduced that this is definitely a critical vote in Nigeria’s young democratic history. As a result, I feel that this is not a time to keep silent in the face of the trials and tribulations we face as citizens of Nigeria… We should not destroy relationships or in some extreme cases resort to violence because our choices of candidates differ. I have noticed that there seems to be so much intolerance for the views and choices of others, which has resulted in cyber bullying and intimidation. I would like to let everyone know that I will be voting for President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice- President Namadi Sambo on February 14, 2015,” Rita Dominic had earlier pointed out.
Nollywood actors actresses and stakeholders supporting President Jonathan and the PDP include:
Zik Zulu Okafor
Osita Iheme a.k.a Paw Paw
Chinedu Ikedieze a.k.a Aki
Other entertainers who share Mercy Johnson’s loyalty to Jonathan are:
I Go Dye
Mercy Johnson also urged Nigerians to cast aside their sentiments and make the right choice during the forthcoming elections.
The actress reminded Nigerians that President Jonathan launched the NigComSat-1Rsatellite, which will help expand Internet Bandwidth, monitor the weather and provide early warning to prevent natural disasters like floods, crop monitoring and urban planning. “It has the attendant benefit of reducing the over $1 billion spent in purchasing Internet Bandwidth from abroad,” she said.
Interestingly, President Jonathan’s biggest rival, APC’s Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) in the forthcoming 2015 elections also has actors, actresses, artistes and comedians who believe in his dreams and they include:
Actors and actresses
Ronke Oshodi Oke
Lasun Ray Eyiwunmi
Yomi Fash Lanso
Bernard Baba Tee
Adebayo Salami a.k.a Oga Bello
Madam Saje a.k.a Fausat Balogun
Sanyeri a.k.a Olaniyi Afonja
Gbenga Adeyinka 1st GCON
K1 De Ultimate
Kenny St. Best
Sule Alao Malaika
D1 (Dayo Adeneye)
Below are 44 major achievements of President Jonathan:
1. Improvement in Economic Indices – International Ratings agency, Fitch Ratings revised the country’s Outlook upwards from Negative to Stable.
2. Standard and Poor’s another internationally respected and independent ratings agency, revised Nigeria’s ratings from stable to Positive.
3. Signing into law the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Bill 2010 (Local Content Bill) which has increased Local Content in the Oil and Gas sector.
4. As a direct result of that law Royal Dutch Shell awarded a N7.8 billion ($49.9 million) contract to a Nigerian firm, S.C.C Limited, for the manufacture of high pressure line pipes that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.
5. As a result of this law, Exxon Mobil awarded an off shore platform contract to a local firm, NigerDockNig. PLC that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.
6. Initiating the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). A seed capital of $1 billion was provided to kick start the fund as well as establish three sub funds- the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund; the Future Generations Fund and the Stabilization Fund which will be the pillars of the SWF.
7. Launched the Youth Enterprise with innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) initiative on the 11th October 2011 which is the administration’s job creation centre piece.
8. 1,200 Nigerian youths emerged winners of the competition following a transparent process. Each winner receives a business start up grant of between 1 to 10 million Naira.
9. The UK Government in London described Nigeria as the fourth fastest growing economy in the world.
10. The Federal Government under President Jonathan secured investment commitments worth 4.89 Trillion Naira.
11. Launched the NigComSat-1Rsatellite which will help expand Internet Bandwidth, monitor the weather and provide early warning to prevent natural disasters like floods, crop monitoring and urban planning. It has the attendant benefit of reducing the over $1 billion spent in purchasing Internet Bandwidth from abroad.
12. Nigeria’s banking industry rescued and stabilized by the establishment of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).
13. MasterCard made Nigeria its regional headquarters for its West/East and Indian Ocean islands zone raising the profile of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry.
14. Revival of the Textile industry via the 150 billion Naira Textile Industry Bailout. As a result the United Nigerian Textile Limited was reactivated amongst others and 2000 employees re-engaged.
15. Promotion and practice of true democracy by creating an enabling environment where people from diverse backgrounds and with divergent views and opinions can be accommodated. Under the watch of Goodluck Jonathan administration, the APC was registered by INEC as a mega opposition party big enough to challenge the PDP at both state and national levels. This would have been unthinkable some years back.
16. Conduct of free and fair elections in the country, including the 2011 poll which was adjudged to be the most credible election of its magnitude that has ever been conducted in the country, though it was not without its flaws. Unlike in other administrations, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has given a free hand to the country’s electoral umpire, INEC, to perform its statutory duties.
17. Relative non-interference with electoral and judicial matters. This is evident in the number of governorship elections that have been won both at the polls and in the court by opposition parties in Anambra, Imo, Osun states, among others.
18. Liberalization of the press and guaranteeing the freedom of speech in a country where the stifling of the press and suppression of the citizens’ right to freedom of speech used to be the norm, a legacy of over 30 years of military rule. The existence of vocal anti-government media houses and critics would have culminated in some high-profile assassinations some years back, but today citizens are free to air their views whenever and wherever they like just like any other sane country.
19. Opening up of Nigeria to the global business community and becoming Africa’s number one destination of foreign investors. In the first six months of 2014, a total of US$9.70 billion or N1.51 trillion flowed into the national economy as foreign direct investments (FDI).
20. Under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria rebased it’s GDP for the first time in over a decade to become the largest economy in Africa, overtaking South Africa and Egypt in the process.
21. Proceeds from Nigeria’s non-oil exports rose to 2.97 billion by the end of 2013, up from 2.3 billion in 2010.
22. Initiation of the YOUWIN program in 2011. The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) program aims to generate over 100,000 jobs for innovative unemployed youths across the country in the course of three years. It is currently in its third year.
23. Nigerians are now a step closer to being fully integrated into the international e-commerce community with the approval and re-inclusion of Nigeria as one of the Paypal-compliant countries after being banned from using the service at the peak of the advanced fee fraud (419 scams). With Paypal, Nigerians can now pay for goods and services online from anywhere in the world.
24. Goodluck Jonathan administration is the one behind the revival of the dead automotive industry in Nigeria. Global auto giants like Peugeot, Nissan and Hyundai now either assemble or wholly manufacture small cars, Sport Utility Vehicles, trucks and buses at various locations in Nigeria. In addition to that, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM), Nigeria’s flagship indigenous automaker, has begun the sale of their first made-in-Nigeria cars and SUVs in August 2014.
25. Under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria became the first country in West Africa to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2014. It was also the most successful World Economic Forum for Africa (WEFA) in history, boasting of a global reach of 2.1 billion people according to estimates.
26. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote’s net worth increased from US$2.1 billion at the start of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration to US$23 billion in 2014, making him Forbes’ richest black person in the world and the overall 26th richest in the world. He attributed this mammoth increase in his monetary worth to Goodluck Jonathan administration favourable economic policies.
27. Construction and beautification of many federal roads in the country, including the Lagos-Benin expressway, Abuja-Lokoja expressway, Enugu-Abakiliki expressway, Onitsha-Owerri highway and most parts of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway. Also, construction of the second Niger Bridge between Onitsha and Asaba to relieve the pressure on the old Niger Bridge which was completed in December 1965.
28. Revival of the comatose railway system of transportation in the country is happening under the current Goodluck Jonathan administration.
29. Remodelling, beautification and standardization of airports across the country. In addition to that, aircraft from Nigeria are now allowed to fly directly to the United States of America instead of going through many stopovers in Amsterdam and some other European cities along/in the route. The Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu was upgradede into an international airport, directly connecting the South-East region of the country to the outside world for the first time since independence.
30. Establishment of nine federal universities across the country in states which previously had no federal degree awarding institution.
31. Computerizing education in the country with the introduction of the computer-based test (CBT) which will be mandatory for all UTME candidates from 2015.
32. Introduction of the Almajiri system of education in the academically disadvantaged Northern parts of the country.
33. Arresting the outbreak of the deadly and highly contagious Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in record time, though it unfortunately claimed some lives at the onset.
34. Transformation of the agricultural sector, so that, in the words of Agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina, “Nigerians will stop thinking of agriculture just as a means of livelihood, but more as a business.”
35. Nigeria has reduced its food imports by over 40% as of 2013, moving the country closer to self sufficiency in agriculture.
36. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava with an output of over 45 million metric tonnes in 2014 according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
37. Due to favourable economic policies, Internet penetration in Nigeria has now increased from about 45 million in 2011 to 63 million in 2014, overtaking countries such as the United Kingdom and France in the process. What this means is that more people now use the internet in Nigeria than in the UK and France.
38. As of the second quarter of 2014, the number of registered active telephone lines in Nigeria stood at 130 million out of a total of over 170 million telephone lines.
39. Introduction of the Nigerian electronic identity card (e-ID card), one of the most secure in the world d the largest in Africa. The e-ID card serves as both an international identification module and an electronic payment solution.
40. Introduction of the cashless system which aims to encourage the use of e-payment systems in the country and reduce the volume of physical cash in circulation.
41. Unbundling of the dysfunctional Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into about 18 profit-driven successor companies.
42. Under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years in South Africa in February, 2013.
43. Nigeria ended up with 11 gold , 11 silver and 14 bronze medals at the recently concluded 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing 8th in the overall ranking.
44. Women in politics have been given more prominent roles in the current President Goodluck Jonathan administration. A large number of the federal appointees of the Goodluck Jonathan administration are women. They include, but are not limited to, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Miriam Aloma Mukhtar, Nigeria’s first female Chief Justice; Diezani Alison-Madueke; ex-aviation minister Stella Oduah, Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s representatives at the United Nations; Sarah Jibril; and Viola Onwuliri.
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