Jonathan: Nobody Should Rig For Me
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday warned that nobody should rig for him in the April 16, 2011 presidential election.
Also, the President has promised the women a 35 per cent slot in his government if they (women) vote for the Peoples Democratic Party in this year’s elections.
Jonathan is the presidential candidate of the PDP, the party that has been ruling at the country since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999.
After a short break following the Port Harcourt tragedy when about 20 people died and many others injured in a stampede at the Liberation Stadium during his campaign rally, Jonathan on Thursday held rallies in Jos, Plateau State, and Makurdi, Benue State.
“Nobody should rig for me. I am assuring Nigerians that though I am contesting, nobody must manipulate votes in my favour. Our vote must count.” he told the crowd at the PDP presidential campaign rally in Makurdi.
“We must vote the people we want. We no longer want the situation where people imposed candidates on us. Anybody that is not good enough, vote out the person. That is democracy,” he added.
He said it was the cardinal objective of his government to deliver a credible poll.
The 2007 elections in the country were massively condemned by both local and foreign observers, civil society groups and the opposition parties as massively rigged and came short of acceptable international standard.
The late President Umaru Yar’Adua, whose election rested on the outcome of the poll, at his inauguration on May 29, 2007 publicly admitted that the election was flawed.
Till date, judicial contests over the election that held almost four years ago are still raging while the results of the poll in several states had been upturned by the courts.
The courts, for instance, had sacked the PDP governors enthroned in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Edo states, while the victory of many erstwhile members of national and state assemblies had been equally upturned.
As a result of the uproar at the flaws in the 2007 elections, Yar’Adua had promised an electoral reform and commitment to credible election. Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s deputy and successor.
In Jos earlier, the President had assured the womenfolk of 35 percent slots in ministerial and ambassadorial appointments if they vote for the PDP.
“Giving the Nigerian women 35 per cent is something we can do. We shall do that here. If a country like South Africa can give women 50 per cent, we should emulate that,” he said.
Jonathan saluted existing vibrancy in Plateau State “in spite of its current challenges,” and promised that the Federal Government would do “everything needed to change fortunes of the Plateau.”
Over 300 people had been killed while many had fled the state since 2008 when incidences of sectarian clashes and killings started in Plateau.
Only on Tuesday, seven persons, including a mobile policeman attached to the Anti-Bomb Squad, were murdered in Jos while the Police banned bag-carrying individuals from the venue of the President’s campaign as part of heightened security measures.
The President promised to revamp the mining industry in Plateau, noting that mining activities in the state dominated Nigeria’s economy in the 1960s and 1970s.
“We shall refocus on solid mineral development and make it one of the key revenue sources in Nigeria,” he said.