Jonathan Launches Presidential Campaign In Lagos, Nigeria's Economic Hub
SAN FRANCISCO, January 08, (THEWILL) – Incumbent President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, 57, Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria's economic centre, formally launched his re-election campaign with thousands of supporters attending a rally organized by his campaign and his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Nigeria's Presidential election, which is expected to be very tight, has been scheduled for February 14, 2015. Jonathan faces main challenger, former military ruler, General Muhammadu Buhari, 72, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The President came out swinging at his critics on the defining issues of his re-election bid for another four-year term saying electorates, especially youths must judge those joggling for office on issues of security, privatization and corruption.
Dr. Jonathan accused his predecessors of systematically weakening the country's armed forces by refusing to fund the military on issues of hardware and personnel development. President Jonathan also addressed the issue of corruption.
According to him, while first apologizing to workers who have not been paid salaries, he explained that the ongoing effort to stamp out the corrupt practices of ghost workers and harmonizing procurement structure caused some delay.
He accused his critics of only being interested in the showbiz aspect of the fight against corruption. “We have been shooting armed robbers has that stopped armed robbery? Arresting and parading people!”
He said that “any country that does not respect the rule of law is a jungle”. President Jonathan uncharacteristically sparked a major debate on the foreign relations philosophy for the country by hitting at Buhari, on the unbridled attempt at crating one time Transport Minister, late Dr. Umaru Dikko, from Britain in 1984 in order to answer charges of corruption.
Jonathan said that the juvenile diplomatic gaffe led to a face-off between Nigeria and Britain. He asked his audience “if that is the past they want the nation to embrace”, to which the crowd voiced a loud “No”.
He also mocked Buhari for the regimental discipline introduced by the military often necessitating Nigerians to wait in line all night for articles like milk in the name of essential commodities, often whipped by soldiers. In contrast, Jonathan called for attitudinal discipline in order to destroy the ingrained seed of corruption in Nigeria.
Jonathan was still not going to allow his traducers to escape without further bloody blows listing how he has fairly sited Federal Institutions of Higher Learning in every state of the federation, he queried some of the past leaders who have become his most ardent accusers to name the nursery schools and institutions that they built with Nigerian tax payers money.
He challenged the past rulers who have been so loud in criticizing him to come and defend what they used the country's money for in the past. He accused some of the past leaders of telling “false stories”.
Jonathan took a denunciatory swipe at Buhari for failing to include any woman in his cabinet when running an oppressive junta. He said that he would not join the league of those who would want to fight enemies or throw opposition in jail.
Various speakers at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos rally made very strong contra distinctions between President Jonathan and his leading opponent, Buhari, a retired four star general, whom they want punished for the intransigence of using guns paid for by taxpayers to unseat a democratically elected government led by Mr. Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983.
The chief host at Thursday's rally, Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, while welcoming participants at the campaign rally, both PDP and independent enthusiasts described Jonathan as an original “democrat and not a born again democrat”.