President Goodluck Jonathan remains confident he will win a second term despite the growing popularity of his main challenger, Muhammadu Buhari.
With elections less than two weeks away, Mr. Jonathan told the BBC in an interview that he has nothing to worry about, as his ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, remains the strongest party in Nigeria despite Mr. Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, APC’s widespread support.
“I will surely win it… My party is still the strongest party,” the president said.
The interview was published Friday, a day after the chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, admitted the surging popularity of the opposition meant his party cannot secure a landslide in the presidential, parliamentary and governorship elections.
Mr. Mu’azu however expressed confidence that the PDP will “perform creditably”.
“Our major concern in the Peoples Democratic Party is not to allow the country to be hijacked by desperadoes masquerading as purveyors of good governance, who promise heaven and earth to the people without any intention of fulfilling their election promises in the name of change,” the PDP chairman said in a statement Thursday.
“While I do not see a landslide victory coming, I am convinced that our party will perform creditably in the Southwest and the North of Nigeria and elsewhere in all the elections this year because the evidence is clear that despite our travails at the beginning, we have done very well over the past fifteen years of our nascent democracy since 1999 to record victory. Those who disbelieve our resilience will be surprised for victory is ours.”
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, Mr. Jonathan repeated his comments that he believed the abducted Chibok school girls are alive since the jihadist sect, Boko Haram, has not shown they had been killed.
“We have not seen dead girls that is the good news. I believe they are still alive, I believe we will get them,” he said.
The president said the Nigerian military will hopefully recover the remaining territories under Boko Haram control in less than a month.
He said the group has grown weaker with the government’s renewed drive that has seen the military reclaim several towns held by the terror group.
“I’m very hopeful that it will not take us more than a month to recover the old territories that hitherto have been in [Boko Haram’s] hands,” Mr. Jonathan said.
“We never expected that [Boko Haram] will build up that kind of capacity. We under-rated their external influence. Since after the civil war we’ve not fought any war, we don’t manufacture weapons, so we had to look for help to re-equip our army and the air force.”
On violence during his presidency, Mr. Jonathan said he took responsibility for “whatever goes wrong”.
“Whatever goes right, I take the glory,” he said. “Whenever I hear that somebody dies in Nigeria… I feel pain, because they are all Nigerians.”