The Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, on Friday said the only solution to Nigeria’s search for peace is the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term in office.
The governor, who spoke in Uyo at an interdenominational Church service, urged Nigerians to allow the continuity of President Jonathan’s administration in the country.
“As a PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) chieftain, I have found the solution to the peace we are seeking in Nigeria. That solution is the election of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for a second term in office,” the governor said.
“When you do that, you would show that you are not a religious bigot. When you do that, you would show that you are not an ethnic jingoist and that you believe in the unity of this country,” he added.
Some viewers of the programme beamed live on the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, criticized the governor, saying his statement tended to be fanning religious and ethnic sentiments, contrary to President Jonathan’s advice to Nigerians in his New year message on Thursday.
The president, in his speech, had admonished Nigerians not to “promote sectionalism, disunity, intolerance, hate, falsehood or the malicious abuse of political opponents” in their campaigns during the forthcoming elections.
Mr. Akpabio, who said he did not share the sentiments that the February elections would divide the country along religious lines, said the exercise would rather unify the country and usher in brotherhood and brotherliness between Christians and Muslims
“Because God did not make a mistake in creating over 280 tribes and putting all of them together as one, the next election will be about love, not religion. It will help unite the plurality of Nigeria and not allow religion to tear us apart,” he said.
Since President Jonathan was elected by people from the North and South, he said his re-election would not divide the South and the North. He also said that since he was elected by both Muslims and Christians, his re-election would equally not allow religion to divide the country.
“I want to plead with all Nigerians to join hands together to allow the continuity of this administration. I want to urge the media to focus on those good things so that Nigerians will see the need to allow continuity of the current administration to complete the good works already started by the president,” he said
On the achievements of his administration, Mr. Akpabio said the pace of development of the state under his leadership has been so fast that not many people even noticed that most Akwa Ibom citizens were no longer doing menial jobs on the streets of Lagos.
Most of those citizens, the governor said, have since returned to Akwa Ibom schools on the basis of the free and compulsory education under the uncommon transformation programme of his administration in the education sector.
“No one can completely analyse the efforts of the administration to transform the state, because, just like they cannot understand the ways of God, it is extremely all encompassing,” the governor boasted.
Mr. Akpabio said his administration was born of God, in line with his campaign slogan in 2006 for God’s will to be done.
Criticizing the media for the poor perception of the achievements of the government, the governor said irrespective of the achievements recorded in various sectors of the economy the newspapers have continued to churn out falsehood daily and circulate on the internet.
According to him, when the entire media are owned by the opposition, even if an entire power sector was transformed or the railways made to work, nobody would know or see, because nobody would publish it.
He said even when roads are built, like the second Niger Bridge now being constructed, or power plants and dams were being built and power supply improving, nobody would either notice, because they are not being reported.