ABUJA â€” Nigeria’s Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said Saturday his priorities while in office were providing a regular power supply, peace and security in the Niger Delta, and fair and free elections.
“I have taken the challenge of an inadequate power supply, peace and rapid development of Niger Delta, food security as well as overall security of all Nigerians and promoting credible elections as priorities in the concluding months of this administration,” Jonathan said at a May Day rally in Abuja.
Jonathan, previously deputy president, took over as acting president in February from President Umaru Yar’Adua, whose ill health has kept him in a hospital bed for months.
The acting president is expected to step down in May 2011 at the end of Yar’Adua’s tenure and the oil-rich west African country is due to hold general elections next year.
Jonathan told the rally of hundreds of workers that his government would give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections in 2011, compared with previous polls that were judged largely flawed by local and international observers, including the United Nations and the United States.
He also promised to improve security in the restive, oil-rich Niger Delta that has in the past three years been the theatre of kidnappings and attacks.
Besides the violence in the oil region which has substantially hurt the multi-billion-dollar oil industy, Jonathan vowed to stem growing insecurity in other parts of the country.
Around 1,500 people have been killed in sectarian clashes in the central city of Jos since the beginning of the year, according to local rights groups.
Jonathan assured the workers that the government would meet their aspirations for higher wages.
“I am aware that negotiation is going on by the joint negotiation council on the issue of a national minimum wage. This negotiation must have a time limit which must give birth to positive results,” he said.
The Nigerian leader said he hoped that a deal would be struck within three months.
“A good working environment is non-negotiable because it is the basis for the most beneficial productivity,” he said, adding that the government would create a conducive working environment in appreciation of workers’ immense contributions to nation-building.