President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday formally declared his intention to run for the 2015 general elections.
In his declaration speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Jonathan acknowledged that the country was facing challenges but assured that Nigeria will surely overcome them.
He condemned Monday’s bombing of a secondary school in Yobe State where at least 48 students were killed and about 79 others seriously injured and asked for a moment of silence to be observed for the dead.
Jonathan said his government was equipping defence forces to end the “criminal violence” being perpetrated in the Northeast as well as put in place three programmes to address issues in the region – the Presidential initiative on infrastructure; the Victim Support Fund for which N60 billion had been raised and Safe Schools Initiative.
Obviously referring to the more than 200 Chibok girls kidnapped over seven months ago, Jonathan said “We will surely get our daughters free”.
Speaking on the power sector reforms of his administration over the last three years, the President said the country was firmly on its way to guaranteed constant power supply and that his government would continue to build more power plants.
He also spoke of the N16 billion greenbelt project in the north as well as water schemes that he said had touched the lives of Nigerians and the revival of the rail lines from the north to the southern part of the country, which has so far shuttled over 6.7 million passengers.
President Jonathan also spoke of the Rivers Niger and Benue bridges which he said would soon be completed, adding that there are also plans to link by bridge the oil rich island of Bonny to the mainland in Rivers State.
Also citing his achievements in the agriculture sector, the President spoke about his vision to create wealth through agriculture, positing that his administration has ended decades of corruption in fertiliser distribution and that 14 million farmers now have access to fertilizers with their mobile phones.
“I, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan have accepted to present myself as the presidential flagbear on platform of the Peoples Democratic Party”, he declared to a jubilant crowd.
Jonathan also promised to continue sanitizing the electoral process to ensure that votes truly count, adding that if re-elected in 2015, he would eradicate corruption and polio from the country.
Earlier, the Vice President Namadi Sambo had extolled the virtues of his boss.
“President Jonathan has been a blessing to Nigeria. He is not only a great boss, he is a considerate and listening one. Our colleagues in the presidency are of the same opinion. Our country has continued to make remarkable progress. He has decided to yield to pressure from all nooks and crannies of Nigeria,” Sambo said.
President Jonathan had arrived the Eagle Square for the formal declaration with his wife, Patience, to a cheering mammoth crowd at Eagle Square, Abuja at about 11.40 a.m.
He was escorted to the venue by governors of the PDP and some deputy governors, as he walked round the stadium touching jubilating supporters in a clearly spontaneous move as security officers at the venue rushed into position.
There was a virtual lockdown on Abuja as security was tightened and many roads close to the Eagles Square were shut to traffic, leading to heavy traffic all over the city.
Read full text of President Jonathan’s speech here