After seeking the face of God, in quiet reflection with my family and having listened to the call of our people nationwide to run, I,Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, have accepted to re-present myself, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party for re-election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.”
With these words, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday formally declared his intention to contest the election to the admiration of jubilant party faithful.
Jonathan made several promises aimed at wooing the mammoth crowd but was reminded by the PDP Governors’ Forum that the road to the February 14 poll would be rough.
Ironically, the declaration took place at the Eagle Square, Abuja, a venue for most national ceremonies which the Jonathan administration had in the past years avoided due to security reason.
The event, which also held under tight security, was condemned by the All Progressives Congress which argued that it should have been solemn considering the fact that the nation was grieving over the bombing of 50 schoolchildren and teachers by Boko Haram a day earlier.
At the declaration ceremony, Jonathan admitted that corruption remained a stain on his administration but promised to eradicate the menace in all sectors of the economy.
Enjoining public officers to live by example, Jonathan vowed that he would bring to justice those who perpetrate corruption in his government.
The President also promised not to victimise anybody who criticised him and his administration.
He said Nigerians’ views under his administration, no matter how freely expressed, would not send anybody to exile or prison.
The President said, “We must continue to hold the tempo all high in our country. I am proud to say that there are no political prisoners in Nigeria today.
“No Nigerian has been driven into exile; no one, and I repeat no one will be driven into exile.
“It is in furtherance of a peaceful participatory and inclusive democracy that I signed the Freedom of Information Bill into law to expand the frontiers of our fundamental freedom.
“Let me reaffirm that under the Jonathan Presidency, your views, no matter how freely expressed, will not send you to prison or to exile.
“I am convinced that I have served my part with Nigerians and it’s now time to look into the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and a half years.
“But to take our country to the next level, there is still more work to be done.
“History has shown that the path of honour of a true leader is not to walk away from his people in the face of challenges.
“We must stand together in adversary and overcome the threat to our development. We must defend our future.”
Jonathan, who called for a one-minute silence in honour of the bombed schoolchildren and teachers at the Government Science Secondary School, Potiskum, Yobe State, insisted that his administration would win the war against terrorism .
He boasted that his administration would defeat terrorists and get the over 200 schoolgirls abducted almost seven months ago by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno State freed.
“We will surely get our daughters freed, we will defeat terror. I will do everything humanly possible to end these killings,” he told the crowd that defied the scorching sun in the Federal Capital Territory to attend the event.
He also said his government would not abandon victims of terrorism across the country, adding that N60bn had so far been raised for the Victims Support Fund initiated by his administration.
Jonathan took time to enumerate his administration’s achievements in the power sector, water sector, aviation, education, agriculture, transport, port reforms, health, housing as well as oil and gas.
He promised to do more if given another chance.
The President said Nigeria would not be allowed to go back to the old era where “our terminal buildings were an eyesore, where we were importing food, and where women were deprived of sensitive positions.”
He said he saw a different Nigeria that would take the citizens to the outer space
Jonathan did not make a formal pronouncement on whether Vice-President Namadi Sambo would remain his running mate for the election.
He however held and raised Sambo’s hand while acknowledging cheers from the crowd before delivering his speech.
Sambo had earlier said that having worked closely with Jonathan, he was convinced that he (President) was a blessing to Nigeria.
He said that Jonathan had led the country well with the fruits of his transformation agenda showing in all sectors.
Jonathan arrived at the venue at about 11:40am in company with his wife, Patience; the President of the Senate, David Mark; and some PDP governors.
On arrival , the President went round the arena to acknowledge greetings from the crowd who were entertained by different artistes from all parts of the country.