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If I Lose, I Will Handover To A New Government – Jonathan
By Samuel Malik, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that should he lose in the forthcoming presidential election, he will relinquish power to a new government.
The President said this on Wednesday night during a presidential media chat, adding that the country is more important than any individual.
“If the elections are conducted and I lose, of course we will inaugurate a new government. There is no way you will say if I lose I will not hand over. It is quite unfortunate that there is a lot of wrong information that is floating in the system, especially in the social media, even in the normal media – television, radio and even the print media,” the President said.
The President tried to absolve himself from the postponement of the polls, saying that he was not even consulted by the electoral body.
“I was not consulted and I don’t want to be consulted” he said, even as he argued that INEC too was not completely prepared for the polls as it had not distributed Permanent Voter Cards to many Nigerians.
“In Lagos for example only 38 per cent of voters have their PVCs, so if you hold elections there 62 per cent will not be able to vote,” he said.
Commenting on the botched ceasefire with Boko Haram insurgents, the President admitted that there was contact but discussion did not go beyond the preliminary stage because in addition to the fact they were faceless, the cellular nature of the insurgents made negotiation more difficult.
“I set up a committee headed by the current minster of special duty (Kabiru Taminu Turaki) and I said that ‘yes if we have any window for discussion, let us discuss’ because the interest of the country is paramount,” he said
Explaining further, he said: “What happened then was that we had a window from the Chadian system. It was not as if we just woke up to discuss with Boko Haram and actually some people came for those conversation with my people but it’s like the Boko Haram, they are factionalised in a way just like when you talk about the Niger Delta militants, there’s no one umbrella body.”
President Jonathan also defended his administration policy of dialoguing with terrorists contrary to the no – negotiation – with – terrorists stance of Western countries, reasoning that any strategy that would end the insurgency and save lives was worth being explored.
“Sometimes the West will say we should not negotiate with terrorists. Yes, we don’t have to negotiate with terrorists but then if there is any way we can solve this problem, it’s better because whoever dies, whether it is a Boko Haram, civilian or security personnel, is a Nigerian and I feel the pains. I get security information on hourly basis, so anything that will end this is something that I am interesting (in),” Jonathan stated.
President Jonathan also addressed fears already expressed about the possibility of the Nigerian military not succeeding in defeating the Boko Haram insurgents, reasoning that what the government aims to achieve is to reclaim some lost territory to allow displaced persons return home and partake in the elections.
President Jonathan said that he would still travel to the troubled North east zone before the election as he still had a presidential campaign to hold in Yobe State and Abuja.
“We are ye to go to Yobe and we are yet to do the Abuja rally. We were to go to Yobe on a Saturday but we had to do the Council of State meeting, and these issues (postponement of elections) came up so we said let us hold on because, depending on the security issues, if elections are adjusted, let us do the remaining ones (rallies) closer to the election,” President Jonathan said.
He added, “I think the APC too, because the last I had a conversation with General Buhari during the Council of State meeting, he said they were also yet to do Yobe and Borno.”