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15 Points From President Jonathan’s EXCLUSIVE Interview Before #NigeriaDecides 2015

15 Points From President Jonathan’s EXCLUSIVE Interview Before #NigeriaDecides 2015

President Jonathan recently granted an exclusive interview to online newspapers, The Cable. BREAKING TIMES presents 15 key points from that interview. Our Editorial Board considers it one of President Jonathan’s most detailed and lucid interviews on issues ranging from governance, politics, economy to security and the 2015 elections. 

  1. I am not underrating APC, but I think they are grossly overrated. We shall meet on the field. That is where we will test our true strengths.
  1. In 2011, taking that as a baseline for comparison, I scored 22.4 million votes. Buhari had 12.2 million votes. That is a difference in excess of 10 million. I do not suppose that you believe I have lost 6 million votes to Gen. Buhari already, or that Gen. Buhari has gained 11 million more supporters.
  1. Since CPC, ANPP and ACN have merged into APC, let us say APC had 14 million votes in 2011. I still defeated all of them with over 8 million votes. Don’t forget that Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the ANPP candidate then, and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the ACN candidate in 2011, are now in the PDP.
  1. I don’t think Nigerians will make the mistake of voting for Buhari. Gen. Buhari, with due respect, is not the right option for Nigeria at this time.
  1. We are not sleeping when it comes to Boko Haram. To combat terror, you have to be systematic with your approach. It is not a conventional warfare. New laws are required to cover your operations because we never had to deal with terror before. There is also a different kind of training and personnel required. Operations have to change from conventional to non-conventional. You cannot use the equipment of 1984. Even when you buy new equipment, you need to train your soldiers on how to use it. You can’t do that in one day. Intelligence gathering has to be firmed up using the latest technology. This will not happen in one day.
  1. I have about 1.7m Facebook followers but there are over 68 million registered voters in Nigeria. We are doing door-to-door mobilisation around the towns and villages. Experience has shown that the bulk of voting comes from those areas. For every voter on Twitter, you probably have 100 voters who are not on Twitter.
  1. We have a very good strategy to woo voters. Our opponents have a good strategy to abuse us on Twitter. Let’s see how far that will take them on March 28. Obviously, it is not those who make the loudest noise that win the votes. Sometimes, making so much noise is a strategy to divert attention from your impending failure.
  1. On the issue of performance, I only wish to be judged on where Nigeria was when I took over and where we are now. The over 6 million farmers who are now getting fertilizers and seeds directly and enjoying improved livelihoods won’t tell you I have not done well. The transporters who are now plying good interstate roads will tell you they are happy. For example, the Benin-Ore road that used to be front-page story in newspapers for almost a decade because of its poor state is now brand new. Is the agricultural sector worse? No, it is better than we met it. Is the education sector worse? It is better than we met it. The aviation sector is better than we met it. The oil and gas sector is better than we met it. The industrial sector is better than we met it. We’re now exporters of cement and we will soon start to export cars. The rail sector is much better. The road network is bigger and better. Inland waterways are expanded. In fact, our economy is now the biggest in Africa. Therefore, let our critics judge us on the basis of facts not lies.
  1. I like to ask people: was it that there was 24-hour electricity and Jonathan came and switched it off and damaged the equipment? The answer is no. Power is an age-old problem in Nigeria and we have to understand that. When I became president, we started the power sector reform all over again. You cannot decree power into being. You have to take it step by step with commitment. If anybody tells Nigerians otherwise, they are lying.
  1. The accuser said $49.8 billion was missing. He then reduced the figure to $12 billion. Now people are talking about $20 billion missing. Is that the final figure they have arrived at? Why are people not saying $49 billion again? No money has been stolen. The PwC audit has laid all that to rest. It is impossible to steal $20 billion. There is no proof anywhere that money is missing. The senate has investigated it. The report is there for all to see. No money is missing. From the way the whole drama has played out, you can see that the so-called scandal was a political gimmick.
  1. You don’t fight corruption with nerve. You fight it with the instruments of law. You fight it by building and strengthening institutions. Go to advanced countries. Go to the countries that rank very high on Transparency International’s corruption perception index. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, name them… They don’t use nerve to fight corruption. It is not the president or prime minister that fights corruption in those countries. It is the system.
  1. Modu Sherriff was a founding member of APC. He was in the board of trustees. He was a financier of APC. Nobody in APC accused him of being Boko Haram. The moment he crossed over to PDP, he became Boko Haram. All hell was let loose. This should make it clear to you that they are all playing politics.
  1. They started scandalising anyone perceived to be close to me, including men of God. I never knew politics could be this dirty. By nature, I don’t play dirty. I try to be fair. Unfortunately, people fail to recognise God in their scheming and calculations. No matter what they throw at me, if God says I will not fall, I will remain standing.
  1. I have nothing but respect for Baba (Obasanjo). He likes to make his feelings known publicly. It was the same thing he did with President (Shehu) Shagari, Gen. (Ibrahim) Babangida, President Yar’Adua. It is nothing personal. He just has a passion for Nigeria and you cannot deny him his opinion, even if you don’t agree with his positions on issues.
  1. After being privileged to be President of Nigeria for four years, I understand very well where the shoe pinches and where the roads are rough.