An angry Jonathan attacks the opposition at first rally

An angry Jonathan attacks the opposition at first rally

Thursday, January 8, 2015 8:08 pm

Jamiu Yisa

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, visibly angry, responded to the litany of attacks by the leading opposition party, over his performance as president of Nigeria the last six year as he opened his re-election campaign in Lagos today.

Addressing the criticisms

Sambo, Jonathan and Mu'azu at the Lagos rally

Sambo, Jonathan and Mu’azu at the Lagos rally

one-by-one, President Jonathan attempted to dismiss them as unwarranted.

But in doing so with rhetorical questions, he may be opening himself to even more attacks.

On the charge that his government has not done much for millions of Nigeria’s youths, Jonathan cited the Almajir schools he built in some parts of the country and the foreign scholarship schemes introduced for First Class graduates from Nigerian universities.

“We have scholarship for the youths but they must first make first class in their various schools before they will benefit. We will send them to the best Universities in the world to further their education and they said we have no plans for the youths.

“Can a government who has no plan for its youths be doing this? We have built schools across the country including Almajiri schools in the North. Ask those who are deceiving you what they build when they were in government,” he said.

On corruption, his response exposed his superficial understanding of the serious cankerworm that most analysts believe is responsible for Nigeria’s stunted growth.

Jonathan said corruption cannot be stopped by arresting and harassing the people, adding that his government is working on building institutions in order to stop corruption and it’s succeeding, a claim that the opposition will pooh-pooh as not reflective of reality, when all the anti-corruption institutions appear ineffective under his watch.

“They said we can’t fight corruption but we have arrested more people within a short period. We are reducing corruption and other relevant agencies will address Nigerians on this.

“They said we are weak, unfocused and has no plans. I came in with the late Umar Yar’ Adua and he advocated the rule of law and I abide by it. Any country that doesn’t obey the rule of law is a jungle. We will follow due process in fighting corruption,” he said.

The most touchy of the criticisms has been on Mr. Jonathan’s management of Nigeria’s security especially against the rampaging fighters of Boko Haram, who have seized a slice of Nigerian territory in the North east.

“They said they will fight insecurity, ask them what they did with defense money when they were in government. Ask them did they buy a single rifle for the security agencies?”,he said.

President Jonathan then went further to subtly accuse some unidentified ‘they’ of masterminding the insurgency ravaging the country and then stating they would confront it.

In Jonathan’s words, “They instigated crises and they are now telling us they will fight insecurity,” he said.

What may not be in dispute in Jonathan’s extemporaneous address was his candid admission that his generation of leaders has failed Nigerians, adding that it is the youths that will take the country to the promise land.

He said that 2015 generation elections is about the young ones, adding that it is either they vote for a youth to be relevant or the other way round and be irrelevant.

“My generation has failed Nigerians and it is the youths that will take this country to the moon. I Am here to talk to the youths who are voting for the first time and those between the ages of 20-23years. It is only this government that has done so much for the youths in this country.

Lagos State PDP governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje said that the party’s governorship candidates from across the country are the new face of the party come 2015, assuring that the party would continue with the way it has governed their respective states from inception.

“We are the new face of PDP and we are out to do better than we have done today. President Goodluck Jonathan will emerge victorious come February 14, 2015 and all PDP governorship candidates will shake Nigeria come February 28,” he assured.

Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko in his remarks, said the Southwest will not settle for a President with less than a University degree.

His words,”I stand on firm ground to state categorically that hardly is there any home in Lagos and indeed the Southwest that cannot boast of tenth generation school certificate holders. This is why, among others, we will not settle for a President with less than a University degree.

President Jonathan have started the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, also embarked on the rehabilitation of the rail system, giving a face-lift to our airports including Ibadan airport, adding that for these and many more, the people of the Southwest are grateful.

“Afterall, we can remember the anti-human decision to terminate the Lagos metroline project by some other government. That project into which the Jakande-led administration had committed a whopping sum of N70 million (about $75 million at that time) was meant to put an end to the traffic nightmare in Lagos metropolis through the installation of a circuit of rail lines that would have stretched from Agege to Marina, Ikorodu in the north and Badagry in the east, ferrying nearly a million people a day, 31-years ago. While some chose to destroy, you have chosen to build.

“Today, Mr President, Benin-Ore-Shagamu expressway is witnessing massive rehabilitation, the Lagos-Kano rail lines, moribund for over 15years have been re-activated, Agriculture has regained its pride of place and you have strengthened our democratic institutions through free, fair and credible elections.

“I am convinced that the hands of Goodluck Jonathan that started these good works will surely complete them. Let the good works of Goodluck continue,” he said.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.