A few days to the presidential and National Assembly elections, Senator Smart Adeyemi has given reasons why the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan, will be re-elected on March 28.
Adeyemi, who is seeking to represent Kogi West Senatorial District again in the Upper Chamber, listed the qualities working in Jonathan’s favour, among others, as: $20 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Agric revolution, special focus on the non-oil sector, resuscitation of the power sector, railway transportation sector, National Conference, serious crackdown on insurgency, the transformation agenda which encompasses infrastructure re-engineering and the fact that there is no Nigerian abroad on exile.
The Senator, who said the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, would be rejected on March 28, declared: “Nigerians should give President Goodluck Jonathan A+ for the achievements recorded so far and he must be allowed to complete all his plans during his second term so that by 2019, Nigeria will be among the 20 most-developed nations.
“I strongly believe Nigerians are starting to appreciate all the achievements recorded so far, the transformation agenda of this administration which cuts across virtually all the sectors and I hold the view that come the 28th of March, the PDP is going to win not just the presidential election but majority members of the National Assembly. I can assure you that when President Jonathan comes back, not only is he going to consolidate the achievements recorded but I can tell you very authoritatively that whenever the history of this country is written, he will carry more chapters than many of the civilian administrations because of the tremendous achievements that you will see in the next four years. The next four years will be a total transformation of Nigeria. Next four years will put Nigeria on the path of attaining the 2020 objective of becoming one of the strong economies of the world”.
While listing Jonathan’s achievements, he said: “Under Goodluck Jonathan, we have been able to improve the power sector. Our generating capacity for power, which was at a time less than a thousand megawatt today is hitting about 5,000 megawatts. Today, we have more foreign direct investments into Nigeria more than any other administration. Look at our Airports. They were not as good as they are today. Jonathan has effected massive improvements in all airports. The same is happening to railway. Very soon, all major towns and cities in the country will be linked by rail lines. The trains are back after almost 30 years of being in limbo. Today, we have more openings and opportunities for Nigerians. We are expanding the economy.
“I stand here and I stand to be quoted that I do not know of any civilian administration that you can compare his achievements in the area of infrastructural facilities, in the area of social amenities, in the area of expanding and galvanising socio-economic activities than Goodluck Jonathan. Our foreign direct investment as at last month is over $20 billion. There is no President that has succeeded in improving the foreign exchange earnings from non-oil sector than Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Today, we have Inland Ports being constructed. There is a Port in Lokoja, Kogi State and they have ports they are constructing across the length and breadth of this country. There has not been any administration that has faced the problem of power supply than Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Is it the number of universities? Is it the number of Almajiri schools that he has established? Look at the road networks in Nigeria. Were there things like that before?”
On the president’s determination in fighting insurgency, Adeyemi declared: “There has not been any President that had the misfortune of fighting the worst war this administration is fighting. In fact, Goodluck Jonathan should be crowned as a Field Marshal of Nigeria. If there is any Field Marshal that should be appreciated in Nigeria, it’s Goodluck Jonathan because he fought the worst war, that is fighting insurgency and suicide bombers. No President ever had this misfortune. The insecurity that engulfed Nigeria was one insecurity that we never knew about before. Insurgency was strange to the Nigerian Army. There is a difference between the Army and insurgents. A soldier and a suicide bomber are in two different worlds. One is trained to win the war; the other one is prepared to die ab initio. A soldier is not trained to die. A soldier is trained to win the war and for a soldier to win the war, you need to equip the soldier. A suicide bomber has signed ab initio to go and die. He is looking at it based on the misconception they have planted in him. He believes he is going to heaven and he is going to be given virgins. Now, these are two different things. Thank God the armed forces, more than ever before, have woken up to the challenge of this insurgency. Today, we have recovered virtually all the territories that were under the control of the insurgency some months back. As at today, Bama, which is one of the most critical communities very vital to winning the war, has been recaptured by the Nigerian Army. Opposition propaganda of insecurity, that the Federal Government has not been able to secure lives and properties is no longer an issue today. In months back, it was an issue. Yes, it is expected to be an issue, but of course, what the APC failed to tell Nigerians is why it was difficult for the Nigerian Army to win the war before now. It was so because there were international conspiracies against Nigeria in the procurement of ammunition and hardware and because the ammunition were not available, the army couldn’t fight the war.
Just about eight weeks ago, I read that the United States, according to the report, agreed that particular week to sell what they called Alpha Jets to Nigeria, which was very critical to winning the war against insurgency. Today, we can see a brand new Nigerian Army. Not that the personnel are different. It’s because they are now well equipped and now they are winning the war. But the conspiracy against Nigeria in acquiring the vital hardware made it impossible for the Nigerian Army to forge ahead against the insurgency. Today, the tide has changed. They are absolutely in control and we have seen the Nigerian Army that we used to know – very vibrant, very courageous and very forceful in pursuit of any assignment given to them. They have won so many medals across the length and breadth of the world. So, we must give credit to the president for this. We cannot pretend that this administration has not done excellently well. In every facet of life, this government has done excellently well and it makes sense to allow Goodluck Jonathan to complete his term. I want to commend the President for agreeing to even run a second term. The crisis of Boko Haram was enough to even make the President say he is not going to run. You’ve forgotten how bad it was about a year ago. Great was the courage of Ebele Jonathan to have agreed to even stay because many people wanted him to abandon the ship and get out. He stood and today, he is getting over the problem of insurgency. So, it takes a great leader to stand and say whatever happens, he is going to stand with his people. Some people would have run away. Some of them would abandon the ship and find a way to go. But this man stayed so far and we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Let us reason together. Let our people get to understand that there is no leader that is hundred per cent good”.
On infrastructure, he said: “When President Jonathan came, only about 5,000 kilometers of federal roads were motorable, now we have 25,000 kilometres. He conducted the most transparent privatisation of the power sector in the whole of the world. Despite insurgency, the number of dams constructed by this administration cannot be rivaled by any other, then the reforms in the agric sector, this is massive. Corruption in the fertiliser management system has been wiped out, close to 45,000 ghost workers removed from the government payroll; saving the nation billions of naira; the Great Green Wall project is addressing the problem of desertification. He has built Almajiri schools that were never thought of by governments before him and he is not stopping. Lots of his achievements are under-reported”.
On the National Conference, Adeyemi, a former President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), said: “We should actually give credits to President Jonathan for his courage to convene the National Conference. I know that he didn’t set up the conference for the fun of it. It was well thought of and I am proud of the recommendations. Who does not know that we need restructuring in this country? Who does not know that we need a structure that will ensure better accommodation among the ethnic sub-nationalities? That we need to give identity to our people to address the rising societal tension? I am in support of state creation. Who does not know that the Igbo deserve another state? That the Ijebu deserve a state or the Southern Kaduna, the Oke-Ogun, Southern Borno or that we need to solve some of the contradictions that stall development in Kogi and that most of the states created were not democratically created? We should allow states to evolve in line with realities around them. There is no doubt that Nigeria is due for restructuring and the report of the National Conference, which will be implemented by Jonathan, will guarantee that. The Yoruba have been at the forefront of restructuring all along. There is no doubt they want the confab report implemented by Jonathan”.
On the candidature of Buhari and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Adeyemi declared that it was a mismatch.
“Buhari has no respect for any leader than himself and those who are championing Buhari today and who are taking Buhari round the country, it’s like when you ride a tiger, you will end up in the stomach of the tiger later. Buhari will consume all of them. Buhari is not a man that should be granted audience in many democratic setting because this was a man, who through the barrel of the gun, truncated a democratically-elected administration in office. Not only that, this was a man who jailed people and sentenced people to years that has never been recorded in any judicial book across the world – 200 years, 150 years. Have you ever heard that? Very unbiblical, un-Islamic, un-African, undemocratic and uncivilised manner of judicial administration. He sentenced people to 200 years and 300 years. This same man wants us to elect him. He owes Nigerian people apologies for all the atrocities, maladministration that he committed. If anybody is telling Buhari that the West is backing him, they are only making him to feel happy. It’s like a man who had a dream and he dreamt that he was rich and when he wakes up, he will understand that it’s a dream. On March 28, Buhari will know that Nigerians still see him as a dictator. Voting will be done by Nigerians. The APC made a mistake by picking Buhari and they capped that up by bringing Prof Osinbajo. They went and lured a man of God from church to join a dictator. What is he doing with Buhari? It is like light and darkness which cannot come together. Osinbajo should be prepared to do restitution and ask for forgiveness for associating with Buhari”.
Adeyemi countered APC’s ‘propaganda’ of fighting corruption, insisting that most members of the opposition party are corrupt. “If the APC is maintaining that we are all corrupt, let me tell you to please tell the APC people that they should just line all their leaders; let them face a mirror, from Buhari to the least of them. When they see the faces before them, they will see the faces of the corrupt people before them. So, corruption is everywhere. If they say it is not, they should take an x-ray of their leadership. Having a history of fighting corruption does not translate that Buhari is a saint. Buhari is not a saint. Go and check his antecedents in the PTF. All the people that surrounded Buhari, all his aides, where did they come from? All the people that worked with Buhari in PTF and the consultants he employed, where did they come from? They are all from his own village, his own community and his own family members. APC is not in a position to even fight corruption. In fact, if you are looking for corrupt people, you should go to APC. How can you give what you don’t have or how can you take away what you are living with? These people are just people who are out to deceive Nigerians and they want to hijack power by all means. Have you taken a look at the composition of APC? APC is made of aggrieved people who left the PDP. Their coming together is not for the interest of the people. Their coming together was basically to champion their individual cause and build their financial empires. Those who constitute the APC today, majority of them didn’t emanate from the desire to serve. They gather to derail a man who is focused, who is not submissive to them. So, to them, the way they can do it is to come together and hijack power for their selfish interest. It will be disastrous – God forbid – that the APC will rule this country. It will bring Nigeria to the lowest ebb in every facet of life”.