- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 24 February 2011 07:13
- Written by Tribune
- Hits: 2547
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday confessed that he became “very weak” when he thought he would contest the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
“Babangida is like a father to me, even in my days as a deputy governor and later as governor of Bayelsa State, I used to consult him. So when it came to the option that I might contest with him, I was very weak, but God knows why and God interpreted it and we never contested the primary,” Jonathan said.
President Jonathan expressed gratitude to the former military president “for congratulating me when I emerged as the standard-bearer of the PDP at the end of the primary” and said General Babangida was absent at the rally on Wednesday because “he had to travel out of the country.”
The president also commended the courage of General Abdulsalami Abubakar for handing over to a democratically elected government in the country within the shortest time possible and despite the pressure mounted on him to extend his tenure.
“We remain grateful to the people of Niger State for giving us a son that has made history in Africa, a son that had the opportunity to continue in office for at least four more years and nobody in the world would have stopped him, if he had come up with a transition programme that would last another four years,” the president said.
Jonathan, who recalled that in 2007 during the presidential rally in Niger State that he stood in for the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who was in Katsina State for the burial of the Emir of Daura, said he was also alone in Minna for a similar event on Wednesday, because, as the ‘senior,’ he asked the vice-president to preside over the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja.
“Now I have no excuse. I am in charge. When I addressed the rally in 2007, I was the second in command, now I am in charge. So anything I say I must do it. I will have no reason to give anybody excuses.”
The president said his administration would not discriminate against anybody, either on account of tribe or religion, adding that “we will run an open government.”
He maintained that for Nigeria to change and be among the comity of industrialised nations of the world, “we must create wealth,” saying this would be achieved by stabilising the country’s energy sector and revolutionising agriculture.
“We must work hard to create wealth because if we do not in the next few years, we will create a huge population of destitutes in the country.”
Earlier, the Niger State governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, had said that the state had put the PDP presidential primary behind it and that those still nursing the wound of the primary were bad losers.
He described President Jonathan as a “man of sense and justice,” assuring him that the state would vote for the Jonathan /Sambo ticket.
Other speakers at the rally were the acting national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Haliru Bello Mohammed, the Minister of Agriculture, Professor Sheikh Abdallah, former governor of Kano State, Aminu Isa Kontagora, among others.