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Published On: Mon, Jan 5th, 2015

We doubt Mr. President on this one

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Jonathan HBDPresident Goodluck Jonathan’s televised address to the nation on New Year day would go down as his best ever in terms of its near effortless delivery and content. Maintaining an eye contact with the viewer, something the President took a long time to master, he vowed to put down the Boko Haram insurgency, now in its fifth year, and to make the elections coming up next month the freest and most transparent.

“I want to assure you that the terrorists will not get away with their atrocities: they will not win; they will be routed”. He said. “As President, I feel the pain of all affected communities and families. I hear their cries and share their sorrow and pain.

“We will not forget; we will not look the other way. We have done a lot of painstaking planning and work to resolve the current security challenge. We will bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram. They will be defeated. That is the solemn commitment I make today as President of the Federal Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.”

On the elections, Jonathan said, “I reassure all Nigerians and the international community of our firm commitment to free, fair and credible elections. My commitment to free elections and one man, one vote remains unwavering.” And then he gave other politicians, particularly those in the opposition this exhortation: “I will like to say this, once again, to my fellow politicians and political leaders. None of our political ambitions is worth the blood of any of our countrymen, women and children.

“The improvement of their lives and living conditions ought to be our primary motive and the driving force of our quest for political power and leadership positions.  Let us not promote sectionalism, disunity, intolerance, hate, falsehood or the malicious abuse of political opponents. Whatever we feel or seek, we must have a nation and a people before we can dream of political ambitions. Let us put the nation and the people first.

“Let us all conduct our electoral campaigns with the highest possible decorum and civility towards political opponents. Let us give INEC the fullest possible support and cooperation it requires to conduct credible and violence-free elections in 2015.”

This supposedly solemn commitment by the President and the opposition APC’s call for a meeting of political parties to discuss ways to make the elections not only violence free but transparent, free and fair, should gladden Nigerians , already gripped by apprehensions over the upcoming polls. They recall, with trepidation, the post-election violence of 2011 that claimed many lives. Jonathan was the beneficiary of those unsavoury events.

This is the reason why many doubt his ability or willingness to walk his talk now. Even if he is, will his party go along with him, having already vowed to “rule” for the next 60 years? We doubt it. This is a party determined to win at all costs, including bribing of voters, ballot box stuffing and even killings.

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