see Full text of President Jonathan’s Declaration Speech made today 11th November, 2014.
Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR On the Occasion of His Declaration of Intent to Run for the 2015 Presidential Elections under the Platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Eagle Square, Abuja Tuesday 11th November, 2014
Four years ago, precisely September 18, 2010; I stood in this Eagle Square, to offer myself for election as the President of our beloved country on the platform of our great party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Seven months after that declaration, you elected me to lead this country with overwhelming support from all parts of our Nation. I remain grateful for the trust you reposed in me to lead our Nation through uncommon challenges in our march of progress as a united and democratic country.
Over the years, the Almighty God has made it possible for me to develop a bond with you and I am grateful for your support and understanding in the difficult periods we have journeyed through.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our stewardship has not been without challenges. We have had to deal with the wave of insurgency that has swept through some parts of our dear country. Only yesterday, Government Science Secondary School in Yobe State was bombed by insurgents, killing our promising young children who were seeking education to build the country and support their parents. Many Nigerians have lost their lives and property to these mindless killings. Let me crave the indulgence of all present here to stand up to observe a minutes silence in honour of these young lads who lost their lives. Clearly, this has cast a dark cloud on our Nation but we will surely win the war against terror. A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Chibok. We will free our daughters and defeat terror.
We are equipping the armed forces and deploying special forces to engage the terrorist and end this senseless war. We must protect our country. We must save our people. I will do everything humanly possible to end this criminal violence in our Nation.
To ensure the long term stability and development of the affected areas, government has launched three programmes: The Presidential Initiative for the North East, the Victim Support Fund and the Safe School Initiative. The Presidential Initiative for the Northeast is focused on improving infrastructure and economic growth in the region. The Safe School Initiative is centred on creating a safe environment to encourage our children in the communities to acquire education. The Victim Support Fund, a partnership with the Private Sector, has raised about 60 billion Naira, which will help to empower and rehabilitate victims of terror. I promise the victims of these dastardly acts that we will continue to stand with you.
I am grateful to all Nigerians for standing with us.
Let me also thank the leaders and elders of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for the opportunity you have given to me to serve our country, Nigeria. I am overwhelmed by the trust, confidence and support of the various organs of our party, the Board of Trustees, the National Caucus, the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee, the PDP Governors Forum, members of the PDP Caucuses of the National Assembly, and others.
This day affords me the opportunity to continue the conversation of development we started together. We must develop our country.
Infrastructure has been a major focus area of my administration and so, we pursued the power sector reform to this point of irreversible progress. Nigeria has undertaken a most transparent and corruption-free bidding process, attracting global commendation. The on-going 450MW Azura Power Plant in Edo State is a testimony to the success of this transformation.
We have also resumed development of our Hydro-Power potential, with the construction of the 700MW Zungeru Hydro-Power Plant, while construction work on the 3,050MW Mambilla Hydro-Power Plant is about to take off.
Our power generation and distribution companies have now been privatized. We are firmly on the road to guaranteed regular power supply in the months ahead. This our bold move, is paying off!
We are committed to environmental protection and conservation and reducing vulnerability to climate change. In this regard, we have embarked on a number of projects across the country. Of particular note is the African Great Green Wall Programmed, where we have released about 16 billion Naira for implementation. The project will create a green belt across 11 states from Kebbi to Borno.
In the past three and half years, the water sector has witnessed unprecedented improvement. Access to potable water is now 67%, up from 58% in 2010, while sanitation coverage is 41%, from 32% within the same period.
Major developments in water include the completion of 37 Dams and rehabilitation of 10, with several others under-going construction. The flagship Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam which is being built to contain flood from Lake Nyos in Cameroon, is now at 90% completion. We have also completed about 5,000 rural and semi urban water schemes.
We are reforming the National Urban Water supply programmes in 12 states, with 385 formal and informal irrigation projects, covering a total land area of 118,000 hectares, cultivated mostly by small holder farmers. This has yielded over 3 million metric tons of assorted grains and vegetables, with a market value of about 45 billion Naira.
Our agricultural practices did not benefit our farmers and our people. Fertilizer distribution was a major source of fraud and we were importing more food more than our budget could support. Now we are on our way to self-sufficiency in food production.
We cannot go back to the old ways, where there were long queues at our filling stations due to irregular supply of products and our people were exploited.
We cannot go back to the old ways, when women and youths were denied opportunities in government and in responsible positions.
We had skewed distribution of tertiary institutions. Whereas some states had more than one degree awarding institution, some had none. We have now made sure all states have at least one Federal University.
Our economy is now the largest in Africa. Once, we were virtually importing everything, now we are exporting several products, including cement.
In 2009, average life expectancy was 47 years, by the end of 2013, it was 52 years. Some of our hospitals now perform open heart surgeries, kidney transplants and other challenging operations as we reposition our health service to end decades of medical tourism that drains our scarce resources.
Together, in unity, we overcame Ebola, and in the process demonstrated the strength of the Nigerian spirit. And together, united, we must maintain our vigilance.
We cannot go back to the old ways where individual freedoms were trampled upon and citizens were locked up for expressing their views or criticising government.
We must continue to have free and fair elections. We cannot go back to the era where ballot box snatching and stuffing became the norm. Where your votes never counted.
Certainly, we cannot!
We have to move forward! Only forward!!, my dear people, Forward!!!
In moving forward, I see a Nigeria that thirsts for progress with children across the nation, eager for knowledge and safely in schools!
I see a Nigeria where all who have taken up arms, would again embrace peace!
I see a Nigeria where our women can aspire to any heights, without hindrance!
I see a Nigeria where the flames in the Eagles will rekindle, and the Falcons will soar higher in victory!
I see a Nigeria where the children of Mustapha, and Christopher, Ade and Ada, Timi and Bunmi, Nnamdi and Namadi, do not go hungry!
I see a Nigeria where all, no matter their beliefs, live in peace and harmony!
I see a Nigeria where the green passport is accorded a royal reception the world over!
I see a Nigeria where one day the next generation will take us to outer space.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, leadership is about staying focused to achieve goals despite challenges. I have been faced with many challenges since coming to office as President. With your support and encouragement, we have stayed the course.
We are succeeding, against all odds. For the young Nigerian child, who grew up in the rural area, just like me, we are expanding opportunities and giving them hope. For the market woman, we are expanding opportunities. For our young entrepreneurs, we are expanding opportunities. For the right of our people to vote and for their voices to be heard, we are expanding opportunities. For Nigerians to have the right to free speech, we are expanding opportunities. For the job seekers, against all odds, we are expanding opportunities.
While serving our people, I will always ensure the rule of law. I do not intimidate, I expand the democratic space. I give voice to the voiceless and uphold the weak, for the nation belongs to us all. Fellow Nigerians, as we build our democracy, leaders must show temperance at all times. That is a virtue, one which I treasure, and will always uphold.
My people, Nigeria is destined for greatness. Today, here at Eagle Square, I say to Nigeria, that working together in love, in strength and in faith, we will build a nation of one people, united in purpose and in action.
Fellow Nigerians, it is forward ever! We must put our hopes to work! Together, we will realize our collective destiny.
God bless Nigeria.