President Goodluck Jonathan officially declared his bid for a second term Tuesday, with a pledge to do all “humanly possible” to defeat Boko Haram, a day after a suicide bomber killed dozens of school children in a packed assembly hall in Yobe State.
Police said the attack in Government Senior Science Secondary School, Potiskum, killed 47 people and injured 79 others.
Addressing party supporters at the Eagles Square in Abuja Tuesday, where he declared to contest the 2015 elections, Mr. Jonathan said the killings, one of many, has clearly “cast a dark cloud” on Nigeria.
But he said Nigeria, under his watch, will defeat a bloody five-year-old insurgency by Boko Haram which is suspected of being behind the school bombing.
“Many Nigerians have lost their lives and property to these mindless killings,” Mr. Jonathan said. “A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Chibok. We will free our daughters and defeat terrorism.”
Mr. Jonathan said his government, which has come under intense criticisms over its handling of the crisis, was currently equipping the armed forces and deploying Special Forces to fight Boko Haram and end the “senseless war”.
“We must protect our country. We must save our people. I will do everything humanly possible to end this criminal violence in our Nation,” he said.
Declaring for another term, Mr. Jonathan listed what he said his government achieved in the past four years, and told the crowd he decided to contest the 2015 presidential election after seeking the face of God, in a quiet reflection with his family.
“Therefore, after seeking the face of God, in quiet reflection with my family and having listened to the call of our people nationwide to run, I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, have accepted to re-present myself, on the platform of The Peoples’ Democratic Party, for re-election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the 2015 general elections,” he said.
The president recounted how he, alongside the governors of Lagos and Rivers State, and other Nigerians, united to fight Ebola.
“Just as we stopped Ebola, we are on our way to eradicating Polio in Nigeria” “I promise that I will not handover Polio to anyone”.
He said he has established 14 new Universities out of which two are specialised. “Under my watch, every Nigerian state has a Federal University,” he said. He said he has established 150 almajiri schools in the north.
The president said the Dangote group has invested US$1 bn on rice production and that in time, Nigeria will become a net exporter of rice.
Mr. Jonathan said he has eradicated corruption in the agricultural sector and that the success will be extended to other sectors. He said he will double his effort in the fight against corruption and that corrupt government officials will begin to face justice.
He said his government has succeeded in eliminating long queues at fuel stations through consistent provision of petroleum products to Nigerians.
Mr. Jonathan said he has started a “revolution” in the housing sector that will enable millions of Nigerians to become first time house owners. Currently, 66,000 mortgage request from young Nigerians is already being processed, he told his supporters.
He said his government has completed the dredging of the River Niger from Baro in Niger state to Warri in Delta state.
On power, Mr. Jonathan said his government has pursued reforms to “an irreversible progress” and that additional hydro power stations are being built in Zungeru and Manbila.
Mr. Jonathan said he was grateful for the trust reposed on him by many Nigerians, and thanked Nigerians for their understanding over the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east.