I'll Not Let Nigerians Down, Says Jonathan

THE GUARDIAN Newspaper- Armsfree Ajanaku Onomo and Fisayo Soyombo

IF attendance in numbers and personalities is a guide in the ongoing campaigns for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then the camp of President Goodluck Jonathan maybe in a jubilant mood right now.
This is because every speaker and even observers described the attendance of the formal declaration of the president for the 2011 election as unprecedented.
Thus, the President was not lacking in the kind of company he needs to clinch the presidential ticket of his party the PDP.
And in an address punctuated by repeated cheers from the huge crowd yesterday, Jonathan formally threw his hat into the ring for the ongoing contest for the presidency in January 2011.
In the overflowing crowd were 27 of the 28 state governors of the PDP at the grand ceremony held at the popular Eagle Square in Abuja.
Only Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State was absent at the declaration.
The governors at the ceremony included:
• Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Theodore Orji (Abia), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo) and Segun Oni (Ekiti).
• Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River).
• Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Patrick Yakowa (Kaduna), Danbaba Suntai (Taraba), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Jonah Jang (Plateau).
• Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako (Sokoto), Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi (Zamfara) and Saidu Usman Dakingari (Kebbi State), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Aliyu Akwe Doma (Nasarawa State).
Also present were Senate President, David Mark; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Chief Tony Anenih, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; Chief Solomon Lar; Chief Barnabas Gemade; Chief Edwin Clark; Prince Vincent Ogbulafor; Dr. Dalhatu Tafida; among others.
Narrating the journey towards the declaration, the President said: “With the death of President Yar’Adua, the mantle of leadership of our great nation fell on me. However, the days leading to my presidency were very trying times for the nation.
“We confronted those moments and their challenges to national security with patriotism and care.”
He said he appreciate the roles played by the National Assembly, by the governors, especially by civil society and the mass media and other patriotic Nigerians. He said the late President Yar’Adua and himself had great dreams for the country, stressing that, “we worked together to realize those dreams, in order to justify the confidence Nigerians reposed in us.”
Together, we swore to execute a joint mandate, and today, I come before you to make a pronouncement based on that undertaking,” he said.
The President reeled out what he had been able to achieve in the past four months and what he would do for the country if elected in the January poll.
He said: “Today, all our refineries are working, saving us huge amounts of funds spent on importation of petroleum products.
“I discovered that by insisting that the right things be done, we could bring about a turn around in our power sector by involving the private sector in power generation, and distribution.
“As you can see, from the lower quantities of diesel you buy for you generating plants, you will discover that the power sector is really coming alive.”
He also said that he had put in place new gas policies, “and very soon, we will be saying good-bye to gas flaring in our oil fields.”
He referred to intense pressure on him to make a declaration concerning his political future, “but I declined to do so because it would have immediately distracted us from the little we have achieved so far,” he said.
But he said that after widespread consultations, and the release of the INEC timetable for the 2011 general elections and the PDP published timetable for its primaries, he had decided to formally declare his ambition.
“In these circumstances, and after a thorough self-examination and prayers with my family, I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, has decided to humbly offer myself as the candidate in the presidential primaries of our great party,” he said.
While promising not to let Nigerians down, the President called on his fellow countrymen draw inspiration from the story of his humble beginnings.
He reflected that his was a story of a young Nigerian whose access to education opened up vast opportunities that enabled him to attain his present position.
“As I travel up and down our country, I see a nation blessed by God with rich agricultural and mineral resources, and an enterprising people. I see millions of Nigerians, whose potentials for greatness are constrained by the lack of basic infrastructure.
“I see Nigerians who can make a difference in the service of their country, but are disappointed by the lack of opportunities.
He said it was to remedy such situations that brought him to Eagle Square today.
He said: “I have come to say to all of you, that Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the man you need to put Nigeria right. I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of calumny. I have come to preach love, not hate.
“I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past, which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
“Let the word go out from this Eagle Square that Jonathan, as President in 2011, will herald a new era of transformation of our country.”
On his part, Vice President Namadi Sambo dwelt on the generational question and noted that “our experiences span through generations. We bring to office the experiences necessary to avoid threats to our national unity.”
He said they also bring to office, “the nostalgia of our past glory; the desire to make our schools return to quality standards, the desire to build good roads and hospitals, and the desire to drive away poverty among our people.”
“These unique experiences make President Jonathan our agent of transformation.”
He restated his profound confidence in the ability of President Jonathan to deliver a new Nigeria of our dream.
“We shall consolidate on the gains of our current efforts in making Nigeria a great country again,” he pledged.


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