- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 16 September 2010 08:08
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 1367
NIGERIA’S biggest political puzzle was resolved Wednesday, with the President announcing his plan to run next year. Months of speculation ended, as Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan told his Facebook fans of his plan to contest the presidential race.
He said he would promise less and do more, if given the chance, because Nigerians are tired of empty promises. The President also informed his cabinet of his decision to run.
Ministers and close aides of the President have started wearing a "Goodluck Jonathan" badge ahead of the President’s launch of his campaign on Saturday.
President Jonathan’s announcement came on a day former military President Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s campaign began with a rally in Abuja.
Jonathan said he had spent the last few months consulting his family, the PDP, the opposition, labour unions and traditional institutions, among others, before deciding to throw his hat in the ring.
Although he said he would make a formal declaration on Saturday, Jonathan noted that under him, the economy had grown by seven per cent (7%). Besides, he said he had delivered on all his promises to qualify to seek a fresh mandate of four years in office.
Jonathan said: "Dear compatriots, four months ago, providence placed me at the leadership of our dear country, following the untimely death of our dear former President, my brother and leader, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
"It was a very solemn and trying moment for me personally and for the country as a whole. My immediate task and priority was and still remains to give the nation purposeful leadership and to focus on the priorities of our administration in order to maintain national peace and stability and pursue our key development priorities. In these few months as leader of the country, I have concentrated on managing the affairs of the nation, and resisted all efforts to respond to the drums of partisan politics which have been sounding very loud across the land.
"As President and leader of government, I decided not to place partisan politics above the immediate needs and priorities of our people. I came under intense pressure to make a declaration concerning my political future, but declined to do so because that would have immediately distracted us from all the development initiatives we have accomplished so far.
"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 due consultations with all the segments and leaders of our nation.
"Today, I confirm that after wide and thorough consultations spanning the six geo-political zones that make up Nigeria, with members of my family, my party, the opposition, civil society, the private sector, members of the labour unions, religious leaders, youths and student groups and our revered traditional institutions, I, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, by the grace of God, hereby offer myself and my services to the Nigerian people as a candidate for the office of President in the forthcoming 2011 elections.
"In presenting myself for service, I make no pretence that I have a magic wand that will solve all of Nigeria’s problems or that I am the most intelligent Nigerian. Far from it. What I do promise is this – If I am elected President in 2011, I will make a covenant with you the Nigerian people to always do right by you, to tell you the truth at all times, to carry you along and, most importantly, to listen to you, fellow citizens in our communities and also those of you on this page.
"I do not want to win your affection by giving you promises of things I would do in the future, which others before me have given and which have largely been unfulfilled. Rather, I would want you to judge me by my records. Since God Almighty and yourselves permitted me to serve you in the present capacity, I have busied myself with setting Nigeria on the path of peace and progress."
Jonathan said he had delivered on his promises when he became the nation’s President four months ago to earn the trust of Nigerians to be elected as President for another term of four years.
He listed his achievements as ending recurring fuel crisis; N150billion bailout package for the aviation industry; Grade one certification for Nigeria’s aviation industry; a brand new INEC under the electoral reform; and launch of a national Super Grid and a Road Map for the power sector.
He added: "My team and I made no promises on adequate fuel supply in Nigeria. We simply did what was expected of those who govern, we delivered it, and you are living witnesses to that. We made no promise to revamp the textile industry.
"We delivered a bailout package worth 150 billion naira that is being dispensed as I write. We made no promises of securing the highest U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation clearance, the Category 1 Certificate, which enables Nigerian registered airlines to fly to any U.S city.
"We delivered. We made no promise to give Nigeria a brand new INEC under a proven God-fearing and incorruptible leader. We placed Nigeria first and delivered.
"We made no promises of protecting your loans, deposits and investments in the banking industry over and beyond what is covered under the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Scheme. We delivered it via AMCON.
"Rather than tell you what we could do to improve power, this administration demonstrated it by initiating a brand new national Super Grid as well as launching a concrete Road Map to the Power Sector with realistic goals tied to realistic dates.
"I understand from some of your mails that there has been some small improvements in electricity supply in some communities. We met an economy that was beginning to slow due to the global recession. Today, the economy has verifiably grown by seven per cent this half year ending in June.
"I know you are tired of empty promises, so I will make only one promise to you today. The only promise I make to you my friends, fellow citizens and Nigeria, is to promise LESS and deliver MORE if I am elected."
Jonathan pleaded with Nigerians to join him in building a nation founded on transparency, equity and justice.
He said: "I call on you to join me to work together in harmony and synergy to forge a nation where we understand our differences instead of pretending they do not exist and work towards a perfect union founded on transparency, equity and justice.
"A nation that is on her way to repairing her International reputation and project to the world that things have changed and the people of Nigeria have now taken Nigeria back from a few into the hands of her people who are eager, very eager to pull her weight in the forward movement of the African continent and the world in the pursuit of peace, prosperity and happiness."
The President reaffirmed that he would launch his campaign on Saturday.
He said: "I will, by the special grace of God, be making a formal declaration to this effect at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Saturday 18 September 2011.
"I call on you my friends on this page and all Nigerians to give me your support and prayers so that together we can liberate our country from the confines and self–inflicted wounds and limitations of the past.
"My dear friends and fellow citizens, to borrow an often used slogan by our youths, please join me in proclaiming: Forward Ever, Backward Never! Please let us all unite across tongue and creed to move our long suffering nation forward together. I thank you and may God bless our country Nigeria."
THE JONATHAN TIMELINE
•Feb. 9, 2010 - Vice President Jonathan assumes presidential powers. Parliament earlier had recognised him as acting head of state in an effort to end uncertainty following President Umaru Yar’Adua’s illness and lengthy hospital stay in Saudi Arabia.
•Feb. 10 - Jonathan chairs first cabinet meeting as acting head of state, seeking to revive government business after more than two months of stagnation. He removes Justice Minister and Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa. Aondoakaa had been among ministers who held out against formally transferring power to Jonathan during Yar’Adua’s absence.
•Feb. 24 - Yar’Adua arrives back in Abuja after three months in a Saudi hospital.
•March 17 - Jonathan dissolves cabinet in further step to assert his authority after assuming full powers in the absence of the ailing Yar’Adua.
•April 6 - Jonathan swears in 38 ministers to his new cabinet.
•May 5 - Yar’Adua dies.
•May 6 - Jonathan vows to fight corruption as he is sworn in
•May 29 - Jonathan promises free and fair elections, calls for electoral reform
•July 27 - INEC sets presidential elections for January
•Aug. 10 - Jonathan announces plans for a $3.5 billion national electricity grid to be jointly financed with the private sector and development agencies
•Aug. 11 - Jonathan announces a minor cabinet reshuffle, appointing two female opposition politicians from the North as junior ministers.
•Aug. 11 - The cabinet approves the purchase of three new presidential jets at $150m
•Aug. 26 - Jonathan unveils a multi-billion dollar strategy to end chronic power short ages by privatising the domestic energy sector, formally launching his biggest policy drive yet.
•Sep. 8 - Jonathan replaces the heads of the military and security services
•Sep. 13 - Jonathan announces he has submitted a bill to create a sovereign wealth fund.
•Sep. 15 - Jonathan announces on his Facebook page that he plans to contest 2011 elections