I won't run in 2015- Jonathan

THE SUN Newspaper- Juliana Taiwo

President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians in the Diaspora that though he will not contest the 2015 elections, he will ensure a free and fair elections, beginning from the April polls this year. He has also assured that if voted in for the next four years, he would ensure significant improvement in key sector of the economy, security, power, education, road, health amongst others.

“Without security there is no government. So, it is not debatable, it is something we have to address and we are working towards that with vigour. But if I’m voted into power within the next four years the issue of power will become a thing of the past. Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.”
President Jonathan said this while interacting with Nigerians mainly diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU).

While fielding questions from those present at the interactive session on whether Nigerians abroad would vote, President Jonathan said: “I would have loved that Nigerians in the Diaspora vote this year but to be frank with you, that is going to be difficult now. Presently the law does not allow the voting outside Nigeria and so this year, Nigerians in the Diaspora will not vote but I will work towards it by 2015 even though I will not be running for election.”

On the issue of security, President Jonathan said the government was doing everything possible to arrest the situation. He disclosed that all those involved in the October 1 bombing had been arrested and being prosecuted. He, however, said he ordered the release of the car dealers because they were just businessmen who could not have known that the vehicles were to be used for such heinous crime.
The President, while speaking on education, said the nine newly approved universities were to be specialised and to be headed by, at least, three Nigerians experts in the Diaspora.

On the concerns raised of having a database of Nigerian experts in the Diaspora, President Jonathan assured that he was working on creating a forum for interaction between them and government and also develop a database, where experts needed to address the various challenges of the economy would be drawn. He hinted that this was why the Diaspora Commission was being set up as the bill was already before the National Assembly.
The President also disclosed that the government was looking towards reviewing the country’s foreign policy to ensure that Nigeria got maximum benefit from its roles and contributions to international organisations like the AU, UN and ECOWAS.

Jonathan lamented that right now Nigeria’s contributions were not being recognised, adding that “there is need for Nigeria to have something in return for our investments. We are investing so much but it is not being noticed and there is need to reverse that trend.”
Addressing the concerns about road network and transportation in the country, the president assured that the railway system would be revamped because presently heavy duty vehicles were destroying the roads. “Why we cannot have continuous road maintenance for now is because no contractor wants to go into it because of the continuous pressure on the road by heavy duty vehicles. That is why we are working to ensure that we revamp the rail.”

He also assured that Nigerians working in international organisations and institutions would be issued diplomatic passports. He directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia, to submit the list of those qualified within the shortest possible time to him.
On the 35 per cent affirmative action implementation and the domestication of protocols signed, he assured that he would present before the National Assembly within the shortest possible time.


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