President Goodluck Jonathan says the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wanted to assassinate him in the October 1, 2010 bombing at the Eagle Square, Abuja. He was speaking on Thursday at the flag-off of his presidential campaign in Lagos while reacting to the endorsement of his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, by the militant group led by Henry Okah, who is in prison in South Africa for gun-running. Twelve persons were killed in the 2010 attack, while 17 others were injured.
Jonathan also took a pot shot at Buhari’s record as military head of state, saying he did nothing to boost his constituency – the military.
“Buhari did not buy a single rifle for the military while he was in government, adding that talking about fighting insurgency now would only end up as lip service.”
Speaking further, the President said if Buhari and those who had ruled the country before now had properly equipped the military, the fight against insurgency would have been won long ago.
The President asked: “What did they do with the defence budget?”
Jonathan said even if the government had $10 billion today, it was not possible for it to build the country’s defence immediately.
Jonathan said what the opposition was doing now is to promise to quell the crisis it instigated.
Jonathan also tackled those who accused him of not fighting corruption.
He said there is no government that has put in place structures to tackle corruption like his has done.
Meanwhile, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Railwan Akiolu, on Thursday said that Jonathan should not be blamed for the problems of Nigeria.
Akiolu said this while receiving Jonathan at his palace in Lagos.
He said that many of the problems in the country predated the Jonathan administration.
Jonathan was in the Oba’s palace to pay homage to him and seek his blessings before going to the campaign venue.
Akiolu said that fighting corruption was the responsibility of every Nigerian.
“What will be, will be; God Almighty will give the best person the opportunity to lead this country.
“Mr President, God knows the best; I am happy; what I want are free and fair elections.
“I am happy that Mr President directed INEC to ensure that voters’ cards are distributed to every eligible member of the electorate,’’ he said.
He urged the INEC to ensure distribution of voters’ cards, saying that Lagos had more than six million eligible voters.
The royal father urged that security agents should not be unfairly used against any citizen during the general elections.
According to him, both the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje, and his APC counterpart, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, are his children.
He said that he had presented Ambode’s candidature for God’s blessing at the 2014 Amir Hajj in Saudi Arabia but noted that God would always have the final say.
The Oba expressed confidence that Nigeria would be more united after the elections.
Akiolu accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of not treating Lagos well during his administration and leaving many problems unsolved in the country.
Earlier, Jonathan said that he came to the palace to pay homage to the royal father and sought his prayers and support for his ambition.
The president said that the Nigerian government under the PDP had done much for the country, contrary to claims by the opposition.
He said that his administration did not believe in blowing its trumpet but determined to meet the expectations of the citizenry.
Jonathan said that his administration had revived rail transport system, improved road network, created jobs and implemented policies aimed at economic advancement, among other achievements.
Earlier, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu sought the support of the royal father for both the state and presidential candidates of the party.