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Former president Goodluck Jonathan has declared his interest to run for presidency in 2019 in Bayelsa State today. A jubilant crowd erupted as news leaked that the former president would be holding a press briefing this afternoon. In a statement released by his media secretary, the former president said, he has been inundated with calls from famous Nigerians to reconsider and salvage the economy from the current decay under the APC led government.
The statement reads in part: “A while ago I stood at the stood Eagle Square, to offer myself for election as the President of our beloved country on the platform of our great party; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I decided to run for office because of the many troubles our dear country faced. In a hotly contested election, we ‘lost’ the election to the opposition. We would have rejected the election results but decided my personal ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“I made it clear then that when I leave office, Nigerians will understand the freedom they enjoyed under my administration. Are my I saint? Certainly not. Were my Ministers saints? Certainly not. But the opposition have unleashed untold hardship on Nigerians. I read from the news how power generation dropped to zero for a few hours. I read how the minister of State petroleum told Nigerians that he is not a magician to fix Nigerian oil problems. As we speak, subsidy regime has returned. As we speak the current government have reverted pump price to where we left it.
“Over the years, the Almighty God has made it possible for me to develop a bond with you and I am grateful for your support and understanding in the difficult periods we have journeyed through. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as I stand here this day being April 1, I declare to you that our stewardship has not been without challenges. We dealt with waves of insurgencies, vandalization of our nation’s pipelines and armed banditry. Let me crave the indulgence of all present here to stand up to observe a minutes silence in honor of fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who lost their lives in Agatu. The situation in Agatu and elsewhere has cast a dark cloud on our Nation but we will surely win. A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Enugu and Kanu States.
During my tenure, we established a Presidential Initiative for the North East, the Victim Support Fund and the Safe School Initiative. These programs built Almajiri schools and opened brand new universities across all regions in this country. I read how the APC led government dissolved the governing board of universities and sacked the vice chancellors. We did what we did to better the lots of less privileged among us. Today, those dreams are but a mirage.
“I am grateful to all Nigerians for standing with me and my ministers despite the persecution we have so far face by the current administration. Let me also thank the leaders and elders of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party, for the opportunity reposed on all PDP governors and House of Assembly members. I am overwhelmed by the trust, confidence and support of the various organs of our party, the Board of Trustees, the National Caucus, the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee, the PDP Governors Forum, members of the PDP Caucuses of the National Assembly, and others. This trust showed itself in the just concluded Rivers state re-run elections. This day affords me the opportunity to continue the conversation of development we started together. We must develop our country.
“Our power generation and distribution companies have now been privatized. I have read how that process is to be reversed. If given a second chance, myself and the PDP will ensure that we return the Nigerian state to the path we charted for her. We are firmly on the road to guaranteed regular power supply in the months ahead. We cannot go back to the old ways, where there were long queues at our filling stations due to irregular supply of products and our people were exploited. We cannot go back to the old ways, when women and youths were denied opportunities in government and in responsible positions. We had skewed distribution of tertiary institutions. Whereas some states had more than one degree awarding institution, some had none.
Under my watch, our economy was the largest in Africa. Dollar exchanged at 150 to a dollar. Today, the “CHANGE” in our economy is obvious. In 2009, average life expectancy was 47 years, by the end of 2013, it was 52 years. We overcame Ebola, and in the process demonstrated the strength of the Nigerian spirit. We cannot go back to the old ways where individual freedoms were trampled upon and citizens were locked up for expressing their views or criticizing government. We must continue to have free and fair elections. We cannot go back to the era where ballot box snatching and stuffing became the norm. Where your votes never counted. Certainly, we cannot!
“I see a Nigeria that thirsts for progress with children across the nation, eager for knowledge and safely in schools! I see a Nigeria where all who have taken up arms, would again embrace peace! I see a Nigeria where our women can aspire to any heights, without hindrance! I see a Nigeria where the flames in the Eagles will rekindle, and the Falcons will soar higher in victory! I see a Nigeria where the children of Mustapha, and Christopher, Ade and Ada, Timi and Bunmi, Nnamdi and Namadi, do not go hungry!
I see a Nigeria where all, no matter their beliefs, live in peace and harmony! I see a Nigeria where one day the next generation will take us to outer space. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I have been faced with many challenges since leaving office as President. I have received more international awards as an ambassador of peace than when I was the president. But should we do nothing when our nation burns? With your support and encouragement, we can change the course of our nation.
“Let all compatriots arise and seize the destiny of our nation once again. Nigeria is destined for greatness. Today, as I present myself once again to contest for the 2019 presidential electionssay to Nigeria, that working together in love, in strength and in faith, we will build a nation of one people, united in purpose and in action. Fellow Nigerians, it is forward ever! We must put our hopes to work! Together, we will realize our collective destiny.”
God bless Nigeria.
Dr Goodluck, E. Jonathan, GCFR