Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we have a date with history as we approach the 2015 general elections, therefore we need to forge a common front and also mend fences because the task before us is one that can only be done effectively if we have a unity of purpose and demonstrate uncommon loyalty to the cause of our Leader, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR and our great Party, the PDP.
Distinguished leaders of our Party, the PDP should not be difficult to ‘market’ to Nigerians despite the propaganda that the opposition has deliberately orchestrated against us in recent times. In the coming weeks and days, all of us and our teeming supporters should concentrate on issue based campaign and struggle as much as possible to showcase PDP’s scorecard.
It is our responsibility to let Nigerians take pride in the PDP and its pan Nigerian credentials. Our Party does not have regional bases, the whole nation is its base and this should definitely be a plus for us.
The PDP is the largest party in Africa and under this banner; we have grown our economy to the point where it is now the largest economy in Africa thus, proving that as the PDP grows stronger, Nigeria grows stronger.
And with all due respect, the choice between the PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan and the opposition’s candidate is very clear.
In Nigeria under the Jonathan Presidency, we have seen results of the Transformation Agenda.
We have witnessed an unprecedented engagement of the womenfolk in the governance process at the different tiers of government.
We have also seen an unrivalled democratization of access to education especially with the establishment of 125 Almajiri Schools in 13 Northern States, 27 Special girls school, 12 New Federal Universities and 35 new NCE and OND/HND awarding institutions.
Apart from the above, never in the history of Nigeria has the sanctity of the Ballot Box, the core signal of quality electoral process been witnessed as under the Jonathan Presidency. The Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections are testimonies of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s commitment to good governance and democratic development.
In the case of infrastructure, the Jonathan presidency has either reconstructed or almost completing in the Southwest, the Apapa – Oshodi Expressway, Benin-Ore-Shagamu Highway, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Akure-Ilesha Road. Work is also in progress on other roads that are strategic to our people such as the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja Road, the East-West Road and the second Niger Bridge. The above are part of the long list of roads that are under construction across Nigeria.
Still on Infrastructure, the Rail transport which has been neglected for over two decades took GEJ less than 2 years to be put back on track thus witnessing the commissioning of New Air-condition Trains. This came about via a visionary long term plan whose ultimate goal when fully implanted will see a Lagos-Ibadan High Speed metro line that will enable people live in Ibadan and work in Lagos. The project itself, being part of the Interstate Rail Project, has been listed by KPMG as one of the world’s top 100 infrastructure projects!
Also at the Aviation sector, the National Aviation Master plan and Road map was developed and is being implemented. The installation of cutting edge navigational aids and Instruments Landing Systems, including runway lights and Total Radar Coverage (TRACON) has been put in place in some of our Airports. For the first time in three decades, ALL the 22 federally owned airports are being remodelled and renovated just as 16 airports that are close to the nation’s food baskets have been redesigned as Cargo airports to transport perishables.
New Terminals have also been built for 5 International Airports at Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu. To cap it all, Nigeria has attained the US Category 1 Certification in the aviation Sector.
The Industrialization Sector has not been left unattended to and as we speak, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Innoson have automobile industries manufacturing vehicles in Nigeria.
Also, the successes already achieved at the Power sector are not only an international validation of President Jonathan’s Power Sector Reforms but a loud statement of endorsement and confidence in the future of Nigeria’s economy by the International Community.
Distinguished leaders of our people, the 2015 election must be about issues, records and ideas! The President has his record and the opposition have theirs.
I am proud to say that President Jonathan has never publicly or privately called for violence or bloodshed.
President Jonathan’s has bequeathed a good Human Right Record to Nigeria. No political Prisoners exist in Nigeria.
Some people say the opposition is coming to fight corruption and I ask them if they have seen the latest Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International on 3rd December, 2014.
Under President Jonathan:
Nigeria progressed 8 points upward in the scale proving that the President is tackling corruption headlong.
The major progress Nigeria made in the 2014 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International are the result of the clinical surgical incision made by President Jonathan at the root of corruption in Nigeria.
Gone are the show trials that glorify style over substance with media prosecutions that do not lead to convictions.
Remember that the Fertilizer Procurement and Distribution sub sector of the Agricultural sector was a veritable channel of corruption. Billions of dollars went into private pockets as middlemen inflated costs and supplied adulterated products to farmers. But under President Jonathan’s watch, 14 million farmers were registered by the
Ministry of Agriculture who connected them directly to the product through an e-wallet system by which the Agriculture ministry send texts to farmers to go and pick up their fertilizer and seeds direct from their locality.
What greater anti-corruption credential can you have than this?
Leaders of our Party, the opposition say that President Jonathan has not achieved anything. In that case is it that:
President Jonathan bribed the UN to say that Nigeria’s average Life Expectancy rose from 47 to 52 years under his administration, Or he bribed the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to promote Nigeria to a Middle Income Nation in 2013 from a Low Income Nation before that?
Or he bribed KPMG to list our interstate High Speed Rail project as one of the world’s top 100 infrastructure projects?
Did he compromise the International Food Policy Research Institute to say that hunger has reduced in Nigeria under Jonathan from 16% to 14.1%?
I am not saying that Nigeria’s problems are all solved. How could they be? It took us 50 years to get to the point we were before President Jonathan became president in 2010. Surely it will take us more than four years to get out of the problems we faced for half a century.
But one thing I can say is that we are making progress under President Jonathan.
Elections are now free and fair and we have bid farewell to do or die elections.
People can say what they like and be assured of freedom of speech and freedom after the speech.
The era of politically motivated assassinations is gone.
In today’s Nigeria, you cannot name a state where Jonathan has not built a brand new university, a polytechnic, a secondary school, a hospital or a new road!
And then some say that he has only scratched the surface, my response to them is that if previous administrations had likewise scratched the surface, we won’t have 12 million children out of the formal education system in Nigeria!
Security is a national issue, whether you are a ruling party or opposition, but unfortunately in our country, security is taken as a political issue. People do not want to own up to what they know, and they do not want to come together and fight insecurity. In other lands, both opposition and the party in power, they come together to fight insecurity, especially when it comes to insurgency. So it is not a battle for a particular political party to fight. In our country, it is sad that blames are being put up here and there. Even before the present government came into power, certain individuals in opposition threatened to make this country ungovernable if certain individuals come into power. It appears that is what we are seeing today.
Sentiments aside, a great majority of Nigerians believe that President Goodluck Jonathan has performed creditably well under very difficult circumstances as to deserve another shot at the Presidency. One good turn deserves another. It is evident that Mr. President has exhibited great leadership and statesmanship so far and we should work to ensure that he gets a resounding victory come February 2015 because:
Nigeria has recorded remarkable economic growth under President Jonathan. Only a few Months ago, Nigeria overtook South Africa as the Continent’s largest economy after it overhauled its gross domestic product data for the first time in more than two decades. According to verifiable figures for 2013, released by Nigeria’s statistics bureau, Nigeria’s GDP hit $503bn (£307bn) nearly double previous estimates and well ahead of South Africa at around $350bn.
He has recorded significant improvements in the power sector, backed up with greater roads and infrastructural development.
This administration has pursued a robust foreign policy since inception and this has made Nigeria to assume her rightful position. The recent successful hosting of the World Economic Summit is a testament to this.
Also to further strengthen our democratic governance, the President successfully convened the National Conference which has concluded deliberations and made some important recommendations. Unlike the previous Conference which hit the rock because of the widespread belief that there was a hidden agenda of tenure elongation underneath it, this Conference was given a freehand by the President and there was no personal interest of the President that was inserted in the recommendations. The recommendations are presently awaiting Parliamentary approval.
Another important reason Jonathan should continue is that he is a democrat in all ramifications. He has a history of zero violence and aggression since he began his political career. Even some elements of the opposition can attest to the democratic disposition of the President. President Jonathan’s tolerance of the opposition is unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria.
Again, victory for Jonathan and all PDP candidates in the 2015 general elections is victory for the Common Man. Jonathan can be said to be the first Commoner from a humble beginning to emerge President. Jonathan’s emergence was an act of God which no mortal envisaged. Therefore we must join forces with ordinary and working class Nigerians to ensure that those masquerading as messiahs do not bully Jonathan out of office.
Distinguished leaders of our Party, this Inaugural meeting will go a long way to help us fashion out strategies that we shall deploy in the Southwest as we swing fully into the campaign mode. We must see the success of all PDP candidates at the forthcoming elections as our basic responsibility. After all, you and I know that the only change that the main opposition to PDP shout about is indeed a design to change from democracy to dictatorship!
Distinguished leaders of our Party, we must do everything possible to ensure that our victory is a resounding one and I have no doubt that in this Hall today, we have experienced and dogged leaders who will contribute to the dialogue on the way and manner through which the Southwest would deliver heavily to the PDP.
-Being an abridged version of an address delivered by Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State at the inaugural meeting of the PDP Southwest Campaign Council.