Today at the Eagles Square, Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan formally declared his no-longer-a-secret decision to vie for the presidency of Nigeria, come 2011. He delivered a speech what would ordinarily inspire voters, except that it came from a man they have had months to observe and have been disappointed with his approach to the business of government and governance.
I have gone through the speech and the extractions in quotation marks are some of the president’s problematic claims. The underlined comments are my questions for the president. The speech is reproduced in full below.
Jonathan declares for 2011 Presidential race
SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR, ON THE OCCASION OF THE DECLARATION OF HIS CANDIDACY FOR THE PDP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES, TODAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2010.
Forty months ago my predecessor in office and I embarked on a joint ticket in the governance of our great country, Nigeria. Sadly, he passed away on the 5th of May 2010.
MAY HIS GENTLE SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE, AMEN.
With the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the mantle of leadership of our great nation fell on me. However, the days leading to my presidency were very trying times for our nation. We confronted those moments and their challenges to national security with patriotism and care. I appreciate the role played by the National Assembly, Governors, Civil Society groups, the mass media, and other patriotic Nigerians.
The late President Yar’Adua and I shared great dreams for our country. We toiled together to realize those dreams in order to justify the confidence Nigerians reposed in us. Together we swore to execute a joint mandate and today I come before you to make a pronouncement based on that undertaking.
“The late President Yar’Adua and I shared great dreams for our country. We toiled together to realize those dreams in order to justify the confidence Nigerians reposed in us”
Nigerians did not vote for the Musa Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan ticket. Goodluck Jonathan and his late boss engaged in the most brazen political/electoral theft in the history of this nation. If Goodluck Jonathan believes that what he and the late Musa Yar Adua did by stealing the election to be tantamount to toiling on behalf of Nigerians, then this country is in for more difficult times. The president should have explained to Nigerians the dreams he and the late president Musa Yar Adua had for Nigeria and the toiling they engaged in in order to realize their unknown dreams. For most Nigerians, the coming of Musa Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan has been nothing but a nightmare. The level of corruption has gone up, the roads deteriorated further, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity reached their apogee, cronyism continues to reign supreme and the fastest way to get national award now is to be a certificate forger or a protector of treasury looters. This is what he calls toiling for Nigerians?
The past four months that I have served as President of Nigeria have opened my eyes to the vast potentials of this office as a potent instrument for the transformation of our country. I discovered that by sheer willpower, I could end the long queues and price fluctuations in our petrol stations. Today, all our refineries are working, saving us huge amounts of funds spent on importation of petroleum products.
I discovered that by insisting that the right things be done, we could begin a turnaround in our power sector by involving the private sector in power generation and distribution. As you can see from the lower quantities of diesel that you are buying today, power generation has significantly improved.
“Power generation has significantly”
The president is has the highest academic honor that can be achieved, a PHD. So he knows the meaning of words. To claim that power generation has significantly is a false claim and he knows or ought to know it is. Credit to him that the refineries are now working but how can refineries operating at 40% of installed capacity bring about “significant” improvement in power generation?
I have put in place new gas policies and very soon, we will be saying goodbye to gas flaring in our oil fields. Working with the National Assembly, we rolled out a law that requires companies operating in the oil and gas sectors of our economy to utilize an appreciable percentage of their goods and services from local sources. We saw to it that normalcy began to return to the Niger Delta by ensuring government’s fidelity to its promises, and this has helped to stabilize our national revenue.
“Working with the National Assembly, we rolled out a law that requires companies operating in the oil and gas sectors of our economy to utilize an appreciable percentage of their goods and services from local sources”
Goodluck Jonathan knows or ought to know that the National assembly has no iota of respect among Nigerians. To tell Nigerians that he is working with them to put in place laws that will make the lives of Nigerians better confirms that he is not in tune with ordinary Nigerians and their feelings towards the National Assembly. Since the return to democracy in 1999, how many laws have the lawmakers made and enforced for the good of the citizens? Praising them may give him some votes and support among his corrupt party members but too many Nigerians have become aware that the PDP can only produce politicians with the sole intent of looting the treasury.
In the last few months, I embarked on monumental projects in our road infrastructure to end the carnage on our federal highways. I began several projects to make our water resources available for drinking and farming. I targeted our educational system to return quality and competitiveness to them. I re-addressed our drive for self sufficiency in food production. I have taken bold steps to confront our security situation. In this regard, we are pursuing the revision of our laws to be more responsive to international conventions and more punitive to criminals.
“In the last few months, I embarked on monumental projects in our road infrastructure to end the carnage on our federal highways. I began several projects to make our water resources available for drinking and farming”
This claim is an insult to the countless Nigerians who have lost their lives travelling the death traps we call roads in Nigeria. The president should be bold enough to tell Nigerians the particular roads that are construction under his so called “monumental projects” Is the Lagos-Benin road now fixed or in the process of being fixed? Where are the water supply projects? An integral component of leadership is honesty and full disclosure. With due respect, the president failed to discharge any of them with respect to this “monumental projects” claim.
I set the stage for free and fair elections by constituting an electoral commission comprising of Nigerians with impeccable credentials for firmness and incorruptibility. I charged our anti corruption agencies to speed up the war against corruption, and respect no sacred cows in the process.
“I charged our anti corruption agencies to speed up the war against corruption, and respect no sacred cows in the process”
If the president wants Nigerians to believe that there are no sacred cows in Nigeria when it comes to the fight against corruption, he should explain to Nigerians why the EFCC has gone after clerical and personal assistants and left out big wigs like Olusegun Obasanjo, Adbusalam Abubakar and Senator Jubril Aminu who are all deeply implicated in the Halliburton and Siemens scandals.
In the management of the economy, I advocated a more transparent banking industry, price stability, low inflation, and aggregate increase in productivity as a way to drive us to a more prosperous economy. In International Relations, I advanced the respectability accorded our country by effective engagement in global fora.
“In the management of the economy, I advocated a more transparent banking industry, price stability, low inflation, and aggregate increase in productivity as a way to drive us to a more prosperous economy”
What the president failed to tell Nigerians is that despite spending over a trillion of taxpayers’ money to support the decaying banking and airline sectors, none of the perpetrators of the atrocities that brought the sectors to their knees have been committed. And no single kobo has been recovered. Many of the faces behind the economic atrocities are currently funding goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign. While few of them have been charged to court, charges are different from conviction and conviction is what the Nigerian government and its security agencies do not know how to secure.
From the moment I was sworn in as President, I came under intense pressure to make a declaration concerning my political future, but declined to do so because it would have immediately distracted us from all the development initiatives we have accomplished so far.
As President and leader of this government, I decided not to place partisan politics above the immediate needs and priorities of our people. I therefore told Nigerians to give me time to concentrate on my work, and that at the appropriate time, I would make a public statement on my political future after widespread consultations.
Those consultations have now been concluded. The Independent National Electoral Commission has recently announced a time table for the 2011 general elections in the country. My party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has also published a timetable for its primaries.
In the circumstances and after a thorough self examination and prayers with my family, I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan have decided to humbly offer myself as a candidate in the Presidential Primaries of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in order to stand for the 2011 Presidential elections. I pledge once again to all the people of this nation that they will have a free and fair election, even as I stand to be a candidate. In this race, I have the honour to have as my running mate, Architect Namadi Sambo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Our country is at the threshold of a new era; an era that beckons for a new kind of leadership; a leadership that is uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past; a leadership committed to change; a leadership that reinvents government, to solve the everyday problems that confront the average Nigerian.
“A leadership that is uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past”
Hello!!!! What is the president talking about here? He has been a part and parcel of the PDP machinery that has held Nigeria and Nigerians by the jugular since 1999. If his is the “leadership that is uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past” what is he doing in the midst of people like Tony Anenih?
I was not born rich, and in my youth, I never imagined that I would be where I am today, but not once did I ever give up. Not once did I imagine that a child from Otuoke, a small village in the Niger Delta, will one day rise to the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I was raised by my mother and father with just enough money to meet our daily needs.
In my early days in school, I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired; no car to take me to school but I never despaired. There were days I had only one meal but I never despaired. I walked miles and crossed rivers to school every day but I never despaired. Didn’t have power, didn’t have generators, studied with lanterns but I never despaired.
In spite of these, I finished secondary school, attended the University of Port Harcourt, and now hold a doctorate degree.
Fellow Nigerians, if I could make it, you too can make it!
My story is the story of a young Nigerian whose access to education opened up vast opportunities that enabled me to attain my present position. As I travel up and down our country, I see a nation blessed by God with rich agricultural and mineral resources and an enterprising people. I see millions of Nigerians whose potentials for greatness are constrained by the lack of basic infrastructure.
I see Nigerians who can make a difference in the service of their country but are disadvantaged by the lack of opportunities.
My story symbolizes my dream for Nigeria. The dream that any Nigerian child from Kaura- Namoda to Duke town; from Potiskum to Nsukka, from Isale-Eko to Gboko will be able to realize his God-given potentials, unhindered by tribe or religion and unrestricted by improvised political inhibitions. My story holds out the promise of a new Nigeria. A Nigeria built on the virtues of love and respect for one another, on unity, on industry, on hardwork and on good governance.
My fellow Nigerians, this is what has brought me to Eagle Square today. I have come to say to all of you, that Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the man you need to put Nigeria right. I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of calumny. I have come to preach love, not hate. I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
Let the word go out from this Eagle Square that Jonathan as President in 2011 will herald a new era of transformation of our country; an era that will end the agony of power shortage in our country. Let the word go out from here that I will be for the students, teachers and parents of Nigeria, a President who will advance quality and competitive education. Let everyone in this country hear that I shall strive to the best of my ability to attain self sufficiency in food production.
Let the word go out that my plans for a Sovereign Wealth Fund with an initial capital of $1billion will begin the journey for an economic restoration. This restoration will provide new job opportunities and alleviate poverty. Let the word go out that our health sector will receive maximum priority in a new Jonathan administration, a priority that will ensure maximum health care and stop our brain drain.
This talk about Sovereign Wealth fund sounds a lot like the Dedicated Account idea that IBB and those who followed him used as a tool to loot the treasury. If this is not an attempt to hoodwink and bamboozle the voters, why does the president have to wait to be elected before he can carry out his promises? Are there laws currently prohibiting him from doing any of things he is promising? Nigerians will believe when they see.
Let all the kidnappers, criminal elements, and miscreants that give us a bad name be ready for the fight that I shall give them. Let the ordinary Nigerian be assured that President Jonathan will have zero tolerance for corruption. Let the international community hear that today I have offered myself to lead a country that will engage them in mutual respect and cooperation for the achievement of international peace and understanding.
“Let all the kidnappers, criminal elements, and miscreants that give us a bad name be ready for the fight that I shall give them”
Talk is cheap. You have been in charge for more than seven months now and what do you have to show to Nigerians in terms of improvement in security? Is it a crime to take the war to criminals before you are elected? Why should Nigerians believe that a president who could not fight crime after replacing the one who died will suddenly wake up and start fighting crime? If you have zero tolerance for corruption, how come the overtly corrupt Mike Ogiadomhe is still your Chief of Staff? Charity should begin from Aso Rock!.
To help me in these tasks effectively, I will re-train, revamp, and motivate the civil service.
My dear good people of Nigeria, I got here today by the power of God and the support of all Nigerians; all ethnic groups, North, South, East and West. I am here today because of your support and prayers. I want all of you to know that I am one of you and I will never let you down! I want you to know that I will keep hope alive; I want you to know that your time has come.
I stand before you today, humbly seeking your support for me, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, to run for the office of the President of Nigeria with Architect Namadi Sambo as my running mate.
We will fight for JUSTICE!
We will fight for all Nigerians to have access to POWER!
We will fight for qualitative and competitive EDUCATION!
We will fight for HEALTH CARE REFORMS!
We will fight to create jobs, for all Nigerians!
We will fight corruption!
We will fight to protect all Citizens!
We will fight for your rights!
My dear country men and women, give me your support, give me your votes and together we will fight to build a great nation of our dreams!
I cannot end this speech without thanking you all for attending this occasion. Your huge attendance is a loud testimony of your support for us. For this I am very grateful. I pray that the Almighty God abides with you and sees you safely back to your respective destinations.
When you return, tell all those at home that as we celebrate our fifty years anniversary as a nation, Goodluck has come to transform Nigeria and I will never let you down.
May God Bless you all!
And may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
– GOODLUCK EBELE AZIKIWE JONATHAN, GCFR.
The sycophants and political jobbers around the president maybe drumming it into his ears that he is the best thing that has happened to the country since the Udoji bonanza, but those who know and appreciate the dept to which this country has sunken are fully aware that it is going to take a blitzkriez against corruption, mismanagement and executive impunity to reposition this country before the actual task of development can begin. For now, the whole talk about change is grandstanding.