APGA’s Gbor, Focused On The Presidency At 70
By Ifeanyi Afuba
By the standards of a vice presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections who said that Nigeria does not need a 72 year old grandfather as President, retired Major – General John Gbor, who turns 70 on December 30, 2018 would be the most eligible among the presidential candidates of Nigeria’s three leading political parties.
The said vice presidential candidate who ironically is today running with a 72 year old principal had in 2015 emphasized that the mental and physical demands of the office made it imperative that a younger candidate got the job. But it is not only being younger than the candidates of the APC and the PDP that sets the APGA candidate apart.
A doctorate degree holder in Anthropology, John Gbor comes to the task equipped with the intellectual capacity required to interrogate the Nigerian condition and provide enduring solutions. An obvious advantage of good education is that the job will be done well and faster. An intellectually sound President will not be dependent on doses of official and semi-official interpretation of documents to appreciate the issues. Time is saved and cost of governance reduced.
It would be a tough venture to bamboozle such a mentally alert President. And that will surely be a sad season for the schemers who have been exploiting the deficiencies of our system to plunder the national wealth.
Many will find Dr John Gbor a less controversial and therefore less divisive presidential candidate. O. J. Enwerem reflects the views of many who have become wearied of Nigeria’s recycled politicians: ‘Dr John Gbor and his running mate, Jerry Chukwueke [represent] a breath of fresh air and sanity in the Nigerian political arena.’
Free of any political baggage, Gbor’s thirty – five years of distinguished service to the Nigerian military precedes him. Commissioned army lieutenant April 29, 1976, he rose to major – general in 2003, retiring with honours September 30, 2004. In that darkly era of military coups and aborted coups, it is notable that officer Gbor resisted the lure of power adventurism and stuck to professionalism.
Such uncommon level of discipline and focus will no doubt come handy in instilling sanity into the processes of presidential administration. Among other achievements at the army education/medical corps where he served, Gbor is credited with the establishment of Command Secondary Schools in Suleja, Delta and Benue States. As Registrar, Nigeria Defence Academy, he played a key role in the inception of the Academy’s degree programme.
While not having held executive political office before, the APGA presidential candidate parades sufficient cognate experience to stand him in good stead for the office of Nigerian President. In retirement, he has served as member of Governing Council, University of Uyo and Chancellor, Obong University, Obong Ntak, Akwa Ibom State. During Jonathan’s Presidency, the Ministry of Defence tapped into his wealth of experience as a consultant on the creation of a national reserve force.
But where it matters most, the social contract he is offering the electorate, Dr John Gbor stands for policies that resonate with Nigerians. He has canvassed the imperative of restructuring the federation to redress perceived imbalances with a passion that only matches the APGA’s historical consistency on the subject. And he reassures that ‘fiscal federalism and national unity are not mutually exclusive.’
An APGA presidency, he pledges, will implement the decisions of the 2014 National Conference. Agriculture will be a priority area. The concern on national food self-sufficiency is not mere rhetoric. In the past decade, Gbor has successfully run a palm plantation at Anber, Benue State.
And with the assurance of one standing on familiar territory, he has promised a revolution in his core area; an increase from the present 7 percent to 26 percent allocation to education in the national budget.
Can the APGA platform bring mileage to bear on his aspiration? Opinions are divided. Some consider the APGA flag bearer a good candidate limited by the inadequacies of his party. For this school, APGA’s modest governmental presence in Anambra State and the national assembly would not offer the leverage needed to galvanise nationwide votes.
Yet, this does not in itself equate to the issue of the party’s acceptance. Elections would be a reflection of the party’s acceptance in the country; but not in a situation where the three general elections conducted in the party’s period of existence were shamelessly rigged by the ruling party.
With a different ruling party superintending the 2019 general polls, a clearer measure of APGA’s electoral strength may now be seen.
For Gbor, a Christian, ‘victory is from God. Like David, the little son of Jesse, who came from non-recognition to become King, God on our side, we’ll be victorious.’
With impressive credentials, a warm and friendly personality, as well as felt conviction on creating a new Nigeria, there is little doubt that Dr John Gbor is adding value to the APGA mission.
The Source magazine online edition of November 24, 2018 notes that the ‘choice of Gen Gbor from Benue State is the party’s way of emphatically announcing its arrival as a national party thereby shedding, once and for all, the toga of regional party.’
One thing is certain. Those who either thought or had hoped that Gbor’s presidential bid would be a mere formality are now coming to terms with the reality of his keen contest. With a soldier’s resilient spirit, he is taking on the challenges involved in a presidential race.
From Awka, where a colourful flag – off held December 6, 2018, the campaign and town hall meetings have started expanding to the other geo – political zones.
Born December 30, 1948, in Anber, what is now Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, John Wilson Terwase Gbor, attended Government Secondary School, Katsina Ala and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he graduated in 1974.
A holder of two masters degrees, Gbor has authored several publications including: The Nigerian Army in Global Security and The Concept of Culture and Tiv Cultural Values. The APGA’s advocate of a new Nigeria is married to Esther Gbor with children.
Afuba is editor of Anambra Times magazine.