Until penultimate week’s presidential election was won and lost, one regular face on the campaign stumps of President Goodluck Jonathan was Patrick Ifeanyi Uba, the brain behind the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) – a group which claimed to have secured 18 million signatures across the six geo-political zones endorsing Jonathan’s re-election bid. For those who may not know this 43-year-old businessman from Umuanuka in Otolo, Nnewi, he is the MD/CEO of Capital Oil and Gas – a company that deals in importation, storage, distribution, trading and retailing of oil products.
He first came into the consciousness of Nigerians during the subsidy payments scandal. His company was among those indicted by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede’s Presidential Panel constituted to look into the findings of the report of an earlier investigation panel set up by the Ministry of Finance on Fuel Subsidy payments to the tune of about N2 trillion. As he was battling with this indictment, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s (AMCON) hammer fell on his company following an Abuja Federal High Court ruling over an alleged N48.014bn debt. His adversaries had thought an end had come, business-wise, for this Anambra businessman. Alas, they were wrong!
Uba sprang a surprise like any good student of Niccolo Machiavelli. Like this Florentine philosopher stated in The Prince: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception,” rather than engage in endless legal battles, Uba opted for Machiavelli’s enduring words. It was a season of politics and gradually, he wormed his way into the hearts of the first family. With that came unhindered access to the Villa and the opportunity to project himself as a man who could move mountains for the President, as far as his re-election bid was concerned. Long before even seasoned politicians could come up with the idea of helping Jonathan pursue his re-election bid, Uba had come up with a scheme – the President must be persuaded to seek re-election. And in doing that, he claimed to have secured 18 million signatures for that purpose.
In carnival-like manner, Uba’s TAN moved round major capital cities drumming support for Jonathan and telling those in the corridors of power that 18 million TAN ambassadors were on the field working for the president’s re-election. His group even became a parallel campaign organisation for the President in some states, including Bayelsa where it transformed into a platform for those determined to stop the governor from seeking a second term.
Along the way, he recovered his lost possessions and Society Happenings even gathered that he got much more in terms of emerging as a key player in the kerosene subsidy regime.
Now that the presidential election has been won and lost, with Jonathan’s opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari, declared winner with over 15 million votes, as against Jonathan’s 12 million votes, many are asking: where are the 18million TAN Ambassadors whose signatures Ubah secured for the president’s second term bid? Atleast, those 18 million TAN ambassadors could have given the President three million votes above those of Buhari.