A campaign team representing Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is in the United States to talk with Nigerians in the diaspora. It hopes to convince them to support his bid to contest next year’s election.
Members will meet with prominent Nigerians and pro-democracy groups in several states. Analysts say the visit signals the growing influence of Nigerians living abroad. Some of Mr. Jonathan's challengers have already sent teams to the United States, among them, former military leader Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
President Jonathan’s campaign is being led by the Fresh Air in Nigeria Coalition. Its national secretary, Daniel Kanu, heads up the visiting campaign team.
“I am here to drum up support for the Goodluck Jonathan presidency 2011 in the United States," he said. "We just appointed our U.S. leadership here in Dallas, Texas, and our national leadership."
“Nigerians in the Diaspora have a lot to gain in a Jonathan administration,” says Kanu. What the country needs, he says, is what he calls generational change represented by the president.
“We believe that Nigeria has come of age," he adds. "We believe that Jonathan is poised to transform Nigeria. His policies in the past, his loyalty, [his] patriotic stance make him a great candidate for Nigeria at this very moment.”
He says the support of Nigerians in the diaspora is crucial.
“We believe in grassroots campaign and we believe every Nigerian should be able to vote and their vote should count," he said. "We want to convince Nigerians here to come home to vote, we want them to convince their family members in Nigeria that Jonathan is the best candidate for the nation.”
The team believes there should be fresh ideas, fresh attitudes and new ways of solving the nation’s problems because the youths are tired of corruption and the plundering of the country’s wealth by few powerful individuals, says Kanu.