Tuesday, January 6, 2015 9:01 pm
* He also promised a free and fair poll
On a day that coincided with the flag-off of the campaign of the opposition presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan also launched his campaign organisation for his second term bid, with an advice to party members to close ranks and the campaign team to be uninhibited in trumpeting the achievements of the party.
He urged the campaign team to avoid threatening fire and brimstone, a dig at the opposition party that has threatened to run a parallel government should the poll be rigged by Jonathan’s PDP.
“Some other politicians and campaigners are threatening fire and brimstone. Do not join them. Some other parties are pulling down other people’s posters. That is primitive. Please, do not join them. Every Nigerian must be free to campaign anywhere. Thugs, violence and malpractice or rigging must have no place in our campaign and electoral activities. Do not join those who threaten to start fires and turn them into infernos in our country,”Jonathan said.
Restating his commitment to a free and fair election, Jonathan said the February election marks a critical point in our nation’s history.
“I have repeatedly promised Nigerians and the international community that as much as it lies within our powers, the coming general elections will be free, fair, credible and violence-free. I made that pledge with all seriousness and I fully intend to fulfil it.”
“The eyes of the international community are focused on the transition that lies ahead of us; the fifth post-military rule general elections that will be conducted under a civilian dispensation in Nigeria. The world is asking: will Nigeria get it right? My categorical response to that is: Yes, we must. And surely, we will. It is your duty to ensure that through your campaigns, and activities, this primary objective is not lost.”
“You must always remember that we are a party of democrats, not a party of hooligans. We are a party of patriots, not a party of renegades. We are a party of statesmen and women. We are a party of builders, not destroyers. We are a party of committed servants of the people. You must let our people see once again, that we are in this to serve and to move Nigeria forward, not to move Nigeria backwards.
“In the coming campaigns and elections, we must see to it that Nigeria triumphs, and that democracy wins. No other cause can be greater than the Nigerian cause. Without Nigeria, there will be no President.
He urged the campaign team headed by a former chairman of the party, Ahmadu Ali, to run a disciplined, issues-based and civilized campaign, propagating countrywide the message of transformation and continuity. He defined the theme of the campaign highlighting the areas where the party and his leadership have done well, in his estimation.
“Our great party has demonstrated to Nigerians that it is the party with the broadest appeal. We are the strongest and the biggest. We have engaged the people of Nigeria positively with people-friendly policies, which have moved Nigeria forward.
“We have sustained the democratic tradition. We have strengthened democratic institutions. We inherited a rather complex security challenge but we are waging a determined war against it. We are succeeding in preventing terrorists and insurgents from turning more of our communities into enclaves for their dastardly activities.
“In the last four years, despite the security challenges we have had to contend with, Nigeria, under our watch, has made significant strides in every aspect. Our economy today is the largest and the strongest in the African continent, and a preferred destination for foreign direct investment.
” We have focused on job creation and the expansion of opportunities for our teeming youth as well as interventions to promote Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
“Through an internationally acclaimed transformational agricultural programme, we have re-established agriculture as a business, and a major driver of economic growth. Today, not only is the agricultural sector thriving, the value chains in the sector have been activated and have become productive. The country’s food import bill has been reduced, and the non-oil sector has witnessed significant growth.”
Jonathan also said his leadership has expanded access to education by providing schools and facilities at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“Today, there is a Federal University in every state of the Federation, and every Nigerian child has been given the opportunity to go to school.”
He also counted among the achievements of his tenure, the privatisation of the power utility company, PHCN and the refurbishment of the Nigeria rail service.
“Our creditable performance in the past four years should be our strongest selling point as we go to the campaign fields. Flaunt our achievements in all parts of the country, tell the story of what we have achieved and let the facts and the figures be heard in every nook and cranny of Nigeria.