Nigeria: Why I Should Be Re-Elected – Goodluck Jonathan

Lagos Island stood still as President Goodluck Jonathan flagged off his re-election campaign in the nation's former federal capital.

Supporters of the party's governorship candidates in the South-West, who were bussed in for the function, also seized the opportunity to show off their principals on poster boards.

The only exception was Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Ms Jumoke Akinjide, whose posters, with the inscription, "Jumoke for Jonathan", were conspicuously carried by many women in the arena.

On ground to add colour to the flag-off were Nollywood actors and actresses led by the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ibinabo Fibersima.

Other celebrities, who made brief solidarity speeches, include Mr Segun Arinze, Joseph Benjamin, Kate Henshaw, Monalisa Chinda and Onyeka Onwenu.

Gospel artiste Sammy Okposo, Double Wahala crooner Oritsefemi and popular Fuji musician, Obesere, thrilled the crowd at the flag-off ground.

Super Eagles skipper, Joseph Yobo, also canvassed votes for the president.

One of the highlights of the flag-off ceremony was the presentation of the PDP governorship flag bearers in the South-West with the party's flag, which was carried out by the party National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu.

Jonathan a true democrat–Mimiko

Ondo State governor and South-West Chairman of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, was first to fire the salvo.

He hit at the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd), on his academic qualification, which has stirred controversy in the polity.

Mimiko recently rejoined the PDP after leaving the Labour Party.

He said: "I stand on firm ground to state categorically that hardly is there any home in Lagos and indeed the Southwest that cannot boast of tenth generation school certificate holders. This is why, among others, we will not settle for a President with less than a university degree."

Reeling out the achievements of the Jonathan administration, Mimiko said: "You have allowed the private sector to thrive, yet you have not abandoned the under-privileged of the society. While the private sector is encouraged to invest massively in agriculture, power, aviation and other strategic sectors of the economy, you are also building Almajiri schools and unprecedentedly expanding access to tertiary education. You are proactively investing in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and providing productive engagement for our young ones in Agriculture, ICT and the creative industry.

Continuing, he said, "Benin-Ore-Shagamu expressway is witnessing massive rehabilitation, the Lagos-Kano rail lines, moribund for over 15years have been re-activated, agriculture has regained its pride of place and you have strengthened our democratic institutions through free, fair and credible elections. I am convinced that the hands of Goodluck Jonathan that started these good works will surely complete them."

Solidarity speeches were delivered by the Director General of the Jonathan/Sambo PCO, Senator Ahmadu Ali, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Chief Olabode George, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Senate President, Senator David Mark.

They were unanimous in their remarks on why Jonathan should be re-elected.

Following speeches by PDP Governors Forum Chairman, Governor Godswill Akpabio, and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the President delivered his speech which, he said, would be mainly directed at the youths on the claim that his generation was a failure.

Vice-President Namadi Sambo, in his remarks, urged the people to reject the message of the opposition in Lagos.

Jonathan hits at the opposition

In his speech, Jonathan did not hide his feelings as he hit back at his opponents, who have consistently thrown mud at his administration.

While addressing youths at the campaign ground, the President told them to work for the future of Nigeria, through hard work and dedication, adding that the youths are the ones to take the country to the moon.

He also said that voting for the opposition APC was like returning Nigerians to prison.

The President, who had all serving governors of the PDP and some principal officials of the National Assembly in attendance, repeatedly flayed the campaign agenda and endorsements received by his main challenger, General Buhari.

He, however, did not mention Buhari by name in his nearly 30 minutes speech.

Jonathan, for the first time, also disclosed that the October 1, 2010 attack by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, on the Eagle Square, Abuja was an assassination attempt directed at him.

'Our generation has failed'

Saying his generation has failed, he stated, "I believe that the young Nigerians are the future, we are finished. We believe that the youths will be the ones that will take us to the moon, my generation has failed because we could not take Nigeria to the moon."

He continued: "I don't want to address old people like me because we (his generation) are spent already. I am going to dwell on three things because those who said they are going to take over from the PDP have been telling a lot of lies. They have hired people all over the world and are feeding people with lies on the social media. They are painting all sorts of colours and giving you all sorts of claims that they cannot defend."

He listed the three points as his administration's attitude towards corruption; alleged weakness of his government and the perception of lack of planning.

Noting the challenge from Buhari on the administration's alleged failure to address the insecurity in the land, the President said: "They talked about insecurity. They said they will fight insecurity. And I ask, are our armed forces weak? If we have problems, what is the cause? Equipment. Somebody who told young people that he is going to fight insecurity, ask him if he bought one rifle for Nigerian soldiers when he was the Head of State. These people did not buy anything for the Nigerian soldiers. They refused to equip them. Ask them what they did with their defense budget.

"They said my government is corrupt and that we are not fighting corruption. Only yesterday, I addressed anti-corruption agencies and told them that people are deceiving young Nigerians. I said that they must tell Nigerians what they are doing.

"We have arrested more people and done more convictions. Let me apologise to some Nigerian federal civil servants who did not receive their December salaries early enough and I will tell you what happened. I apologise to those families that suffered because we believe and I believe that for you to fight corruption, we must take measures. If they had succeeded in fighting corruption, corruption would not have been with us today. If they had set up structures especially with the days of modern science and technology using ICT, to manage resources, we would not have been talking about corruption today.

Fight against corruption

"What happened in December was because of a software that is used for processing salary packages. Sometimes, people steal through salaries and some Federal Government agencies, including some ministries, try to divert funds to try and pay for some allowances and the system is scientific. It is not a human being. Once money meant to pay salaries is diverted, it shuts you down and those departments of government were shut down. This is the only way you can prevent corruption."

Jonathan also noted the administration's success in combating corruption in the agriculture sector especially through fertiliser distribution.

The President explained his administration's success in effective distribution of petroleum products affirming that Nigerians do not have to sleep in petrol stations to buy fuel.

Arms procurement

Alluding to issues that haunted the administration arising from the procurement of arms, he said: "We talked about corruption and they say that the military is corrupt. When this crisis of insecurity came up, we had nothing; so to get military hardware quickly, we had to use vendors to procure them; but now, what we are doing is government to government transaction. Any new procurement we are doing, whether for the Air Force, Navy or Army, is government to government. There is nothing like corruption any more even if we had some issues. Is that not the way to fight corruption?

"You must prevent people from touching your money and this is what government is doing and succeeding in a number of areas especially in the procurement area. If you look at it, we are reducing corruption."

Umaru Dikko's abduction

Referring to the aborted kidnap of Alhaji Umaru Dikko from Britain by the Buhari administration in 1984, Jonathan said: "They say we are weak but we know that there were some people who, while they were abroad, some people drugged them and put them in crates and attempted to fly them to Nigeria but they were intercepted by superior powers. That blocked Nigerians from even going to Britain; the whole world isolated Nigeria. They say that is the best way to fight corruption. Is that the way to stop corruption? Not to follow due process? So, immediately I suspect your uncle, I just go and crate him and put him in Kirikiri (Kirikiri Prison). Is that the way to stop corruption?"

Noting that Buhari's anti-corruption stance was a posture to deal with enemies, he said: "They want power at all costs, all they want to use power for is to lock up and imprison their enemies. I have no enemies to fight. I won't stop corruption by arresting people and putting them in jail. You cannot stop corruption that way."

In a throw back to the military era, he referred to the Buhari regime which he said had no single woman in his cabinet. In a shocker before he concluded, the President, who had earlier in 2010 defended MEND of allegations of orchestrating the 2010 Independence Day bomb attack at the Eagle Square, Abuja, reversed himself, saying the attack was an assassination attempt on him.

He said: "Let me say one thing and conclude. I read in a paper recently where it said 'MEND dumps Jonathan'. I am from the Niger Delta, the leader of MEND is one Okar. Okar is in a South African prison because on October 1, 2010, when we were to celebrate our 50th Independence anniversary, Okar was hired by some Nigerians to assassinate me.

"Okar bombed Abuja and the attempt was to assassinate me but intelligence report from South Africa hinted me on the plan to assassinate me. He is now in jail in South Africa and they said MEND dumped Jonathan. Okar that wanted to assassinate Jonathan, will he support Jonathan?"

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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