Nigeria2015: Jonathan assures elections will hold as scheduled

President Goodluck Jonathan and other presidential candidates at the Presidential Debate

President Goodluck Jonathan, Sunday, assured that the general elections would hold as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 28 and April 11.

He gave the assurance at the rescheduled presidential debate held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The debate, organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group, was boycotted by Mr. Jonathan’s main challenger, Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

The president was paired with Martin Onovo of the National Conscience Party, NCP; Oluremi Sonaiya of KOWA Party; Godson Okoye of the United Democratic Party, UDP; and Chekwas Okorie of the United Progressives Party, UPP.

The rest of the 14 presidential candidates, except Mr. Buhari, had earlier participated in different sessions of the debate.

Responding to questions from a three-member panel, Mr. Jonathan allayed fears that the Presidential and the National Assembly elections and those of Governorship and State Houses of Assembly, which had been shifted from February 14 and 28, respectively, would be postponed again.

He commended Nigerians for showing interest in the electoral process.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank Nigerians for showing so much interest in the electoral process and to reassure Nigerians that the elections will be conducted as scheduled by INEC, the Presidential and National Assembly elections on the 28th of this month and the governorship and state assembly elections on the 11th of next month,” he said.

The president said if the PDP was given a fresh four-year mandate, it would consolidate on the achievements it had recorded in all sectors of the economy.

He said his administration recorded undeniable achievements in the agricultural sector and had begun to encourage young ones to take to farming, especially now that the traditional farmers were already getting old.

On education, Mr. Jonathan said in the next four years most of Nigerian universities would be equipped to enable them compete with other universities in the world.

He said though education is on the concurrent list, the Federal Government would continue to assist the educational institutions in other tiers of government through Universal Basic Education.

The president said if re-elected, he would also focus on the rehabilitation of the people of the North East to strengthen the success recorded so far in dislodging Boko Haram insurgents.

He assured that his administration would provide adequate security for Nigeria.

Mr. Onovo said the NCP administration under him would overhaul the oil industry and that it would not privatise the downstream sector. He said the nation would stop importation petroleum but instead make the refineries to work at optimal capacity.

On agriculture, the NCP candidate said his administration would review the National Agricultural Management System and create an environment that would enable farmers have access to credit facilities.

He blamed corruption for the rots in all the sectors of the nation’s life and insisted that “all we need is right leadership.”

Mrs. Sonaiya said she would pursue sufficiency in mechanisation of agriculture in Nigeria, encourage cooperative societies and diversify the economy.

She canvassed a “Marshall Plan” for the rehabilitation of the insurgency-ravaged North East, as was done in Germany after the World War.

Mr. Okorie lamented the non-passage of the PIB by the National Assembly, saying it was scandalous.

He said the UPP administration would break the cartel in the oil industry an€d also scrap the Land Use Act.

He also said his administration would pursue the issue of resource control, saying it would help the nation to develop.

“We shall go for resource control so that those who have whatever God has given them will use it and contribute to the centre,” Mr. Okorie said.


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