by Goodluck Joanthan
When I was growing up in Otuoke, a small town in Bayelsa, as the son of a boat builder, life was hard. Of nine children to my parents, only two of us survived. But I had the chance to go to school. Many did not. I worked at my studies. God smiled on me. I am here today as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I tell you now: there is not a moment that I forget where I come from, or how tough life can be for so many of us.
I have no sense of entitlement. I am not from a big family. I do not come from a profession or background that believes it has some God-given right to rule. I am here because of the will of the people and I will remain here because of the will of the people. I am willing and able to serve, but I am not desperate to serve. I am living proof that Nigeria is a country that rewards hardwork, integrity and ambition. At its best, Nigeria is a country where, no matter where you come from, through honesty, hard work and by the grace of God, everything is possible.
I shall win this election because Nigerians know exactly who I am, and what I stand for. I fight for what I believe in. I don’t walk out of the door when the going gets tough. Nigerians know what I have delivered and I want Nigerians to know what I will deliver in the next four years. Our plan will build on the platform we have laid in the last four years, to deliver growth, prosperity, peace and justice for all. We are ready to take Nigeria to the next level.
The future I see and work for is for a Nigeria that works for all. I see a Nigeria where mothers and children do not die due to lack of medical attention. A Nigeria where no child goes to bed hungry or is out of school because of family circumstances. In the future of Nigeria that I see, the young and the youths will receive quality and sound education that provides them access to job opportunities and a higher standard of living. A Nigeria where the elderly have access to the medical care they require and life expectancy is significantly higher than it is today.
A country where the old people realise the benefit of their work and the disabled are not left behind. Nigeria will be a country of equal opportunities where every child is able to attain his or her full God given potential. Indeed, my dream is that someday, a product of the Almajiri Schools becomes the President of this great country. It will be a Nigeria where justice is not measured in any currency but available even to the most vulnerable in our society. My vision is that of a Nigeria that works for all, and not just a few.
This has been a long campaign. I welcome the challenge of a vigorous campaign. Democracy needs competition, but it should be the right type of constructive competition. It is a sign of strength that Nigerians finally have a choice. In this document, I present to you a very clear choice and path to Nigeria’s progress. It is a choice and path based on the foundations that we laid during my first administration. You will find our plan for security, education, health. Also, our plans for the economy, jobs and the different forms of infrastructure to support our growth. We have not left out the environment and how we will leverage international economic cooperation for our growth and development. Most of our plans have been costed and some are obviously a continuation and completion of what we began. This is my promise to Nigeria, a vision for the next four years.
Boko Haram is part of an international phenomenon. It is a terror that does not know borders or boundaries. We understood this from the beginning. Nigeria was on the right side of the argument in Mali against the extremists; and in support of democracy in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau. What we support abroad, we champion at home: democracy, freedom and the rule of law. It is a proud record and a reflection of Nigeria’s role and responsibilities in Africa and the broader community that we have upheld and deepened.
We have formed a formidable team with Cameroon, Chad and Niger to effectively dismantle Boko Haram. In fact, everywhere that terror has been successfully tackled, it is through partnership. And that is what this government has championed. In the past four years we have worked hard to improve the capacity of security agencies. We have provided specialised training to our armed forces, established police academy in Kano to beef up policing capabilities. In addition, we have now provided better and improved equipment to our security agencies. This process is ongoing. We have made these investments in order to improve the capacity of security agencies to protect all Nigerians.
There is still a real risk of further terror attacks, against the kind of soft, innocent target of which there are so many across the country. And there will be further battles ahead. But Boko Haram’s claims of a Caliphate have been shown to be as empty and bankrupt as the rest of their hateful philosophy. Nigeria remains one, and undivided. We shall root out Boko Haram.
President Goodluck Jonathan is the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.