President Goodluck Jonathan says his re-election will not be easy because he is faced with a stronger opposition.
Jonathan spoke yesterday on “Kakaaki” programme on the African Independent Television (AIT). The president emphasised that the opposition was today stronger for him than it was in 2011. He, however, said that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) still had an edge over the opposition in Nigeria.

“Globally, it is more challenging for a president to secure a second term than the first tenure because people get disappointed when their expectations are not quickly met by those they voted for”.

He argued that it was the defectors from the PDP that gave the opposition its strength, saying if those defectors were to quit the opposition, they (the opposition) would crumble like a pack of cards.

Jonathan said: “I agree with you, it (his election) was easier (in 2011), but PDP is still the dominant party. There is no polling unit in Nigeria where you don’t have members of the PDP. Yes, for one reason or the other, within the party, people get angry and may even vote against PDP; but in terms of membership of the PDP, there is no party that has that spread.

“So, PDP still has the most formidable structure. PDP has better chances of winning a national election. Even the opposition will tell you if they’re realistic. Who has strengthened the opposition? Are they not the PDP elements? If you remove the PDP election from the opposition, they’ll just crumble like a pack of cards”.

The president said he believed that Nigerians should re-elect him because he had done well. He said re-electing would enable him to stabilise the various sectors of the economy in the next four years. He said if Nigerians compared the situation of the country before he became president and to his achievements in the last four years, they would want him to continue for another four years. The president described as a wicked fabrication, the allegation that he was plotting to remove the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, before the 2015 general elections.

Reiterating his commitment to free, fair and credible elections, he said no right thinking leader would want to create a situation of chaos in his/her country. Jonathan also called on the political leaders in the country to shun violence, saying “I don’t see any reason for violence during elections”.

The president said Boko Haram insurgents had not killed the over 200 schoolgirls of Chibok abducted last April.
He said terrorists would naturally want to display the corpses of the schoolgirls if they had killed them.
Asked why the abducted girls were yet to be rescued despite the recent success of the troops, he said: “we still have reasonable territories in the hands of Boko Haram. We promised that we must get the girls. The good story is that they (insurgents) have not killed them because the terrorists, when they kill, they display. They use it to intimidate the whole society. The girls are alive. We’ll get the girls. Luckily, we’re narrowing down the area of their (insurgents’) control. So, we will get them.”

He said terrorist activities had festered as the government initially underestimated the capacity of Boko Haram which, he noted, started as a non-violent group.”
Noting that his administration initially had difficulties to acquire necessary weapons from other nations, Jonathan said the military now has about 65 percent of the equipment required to prosecute the war against terrorism.

He also disclosed that Nigeria would go into manufacturing what he called high calibre weapons to fight terrorism.

“It got to a point where we needed some specialized equipment to use, and we don’t manufacture these equipment for now. Yes, as a nation, we’re trying…We’re going into that, but for now, we depend on getting there from other countries”, he said.

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