2015: Is Jonathan Really The Man To Beat?
On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 2014, history was made as President Good luck Ebele Jonathan finally declared his intention to seek reelection in the coming February 14, 2015 Presidential Election.
He said: “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 Good Luck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, have accepted to represent myself on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party for reelection as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.”
He made this declaration before the mammoth crowd that came from the length and breadth of the country to witness the epoch making event at the popular Eagle Square, Abuja.
However, apart from the numerous socio-political pressure groups that asked him to seek reelection next year, there are lots of records on ground which the president has set in the last few years in office. These are the achievements that propelled the presidential declaration. In simple terms, the successes are the major factors that prompted the president to represent himself for next year's presidential election.
For example, under the infrastructural development sector of the national economy, the Jonathan led administration revived the rail system, completes the Lagos to Kano rail project, intervenes and revitalizes the moribund Nigeria Machine Tools, revamped and remodeled our airports, upgraded the Akanu Ibiam Airports in Enugu to an international airport, awarded the contract for the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge, encouraged the establishment of indigenous auto manufacturing plants as well as the completion of the major road networks across the country.
In the area of energy generation and distribution, the nation has witnessed considerable progress in this important sector. With 450MW Azura Power Plant in Edo State, 700MW Zungeru Hydro-Power Plant and the unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to about 18 different power generation and distribution companies among other unprecedented successes recorded by this administration, the nation is on its way to overcoming the energy challenge that has bedeviled it for decades.
Away from the 58 percent successes recorded in 2010, access to portable water in the country is now 67 percent, while the sanitation coverage has ebbed from 32 percent in the same year to 41 percent this year. The completion of 37 Dams and the rehabilitation of 10 existing ones with other ongoing construction; like the Flagship Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam which is being built to contain flood from Lake Nyos as well as the completion of about 5,000 rural and semi urban water scheme, the nation is now better equipped to contain any uncertainties that tomorrow may herald.
Also, the reforming of the National Urban Water Supply Programme in 12 states, with 385 formal and informal irrigation project covering a total land area of 118000 hectares which is cultivated mostly by small holder farmers has subsequently yielded over 3 million metric tons of assorted grains and vegetables with the market value of about 45 billion naira, Nigeria is marching towards food sufficiency.
In similar vein, the economic growth of the country has been hovering between 6.5 percent and 7 percent respectfully and is currently pursuing double digit status. Our fiscal deficit is now 1.8 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP); while the rebasing of our GDP its self puts the total market value of all goods produced in the country at $510 billion. This figure is more than that of South Africa which used to be the largest economy in the continent. Because of the rebasing of the economy, Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa and the 26th in the world.
Furthermore, the current administration has reduced the recurrent expenditure which had hitherto taken large chunk of our national budget to about 60 percent while increasing the capital expenditure to more than 30 percent. And like the President said in his declaration speech “We are succeeding against all odds. For the young Nigerian child who grew up in the rural area just like me, we are expanding opportunities and giving them hope.
For the market women, we are expanding opportunities. For our young entrepreneurs, we are expanding opportunities. For the right of our people to vote and their voices to be heard, we are expanding opportunities. For Nigerians to have the right to free speech, we are expanding opportunities. For the job seekers, against all odds, we are expanding opportunities… My people, Nigeria is destined for greatness. Today, here at Eagle Square, I say to Nigerians that working together in love, in strength and in faith; we will build a nation of one people, united in purpose and in action.” With these words, we are now waiting for the December 10-11 National Convention of the ruling party, when the sole candidacy of the President would be ratified.
Comrade Edwin Uhara is an Activist and a Public Affairs Commentator. He is also a Member of PDP Project Reloaded Team, Abuja.
Reach him on 07065862479 or [email protected]