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Speech by President G E JONATHAN at the PDP Convention
by Lere Olayinka

 

As we traverse this country from Bayelsa to Borno, from Cross River State to Katsina, you will see a lot of people that are poor that have no food to eat, you will see a lot of young men and women that need education, you see the challenges of technology and to develop a strong economy that will handle this, you need somebody as an agent of transformation.

I am here with Arc. Nnamadi Sambo, the Vice_President of this country. Certain things changed the equation. I came into Abuja to work with late President Yar`Adua (but) along the line Allah…you know the rest.

 

Please join me to observe one minute of silence because today, I would have followed him….May his soul rest in peace.Well, we were given five minutes but it is always difficult to limit a political speech to five minutes but the new PDP is a disciplined party so I will try as much as I can to limit myself to the five minutes given to me.Let me greet all of you, the delegates for coming today for this great convention to elect a person suitable to be the presidential flag bearer of our great party. You would agree with me that our nation is on the threshold of history and only 1st October last year, we celebrated the golden jubilee of our nation.

This 2010 is the first step towards marching the 100 years when we will celebrate the centenary and everybody all over the world is looking towards Nigeria to make significant changes, to change the country, to transform the country and that can only be done by a good leadership. And everybody even in other political parties believe that PDP is the party to set the agenda for the transformation of this country, for the development of this country and that is why they get involved in our primaries that ordinarily is supposed to be the exclusive preserve of the PDP. So, the PDP delegates tonight must vote one person that can bring up that transformation of our country.

As we traverse this country from Bayelsa to Borno, from Cross River State to Katsina, you will see a lot of people that are poor that have no food to eat, you will see a lot of young men and women that need education, you see the challenges of technology and to develop a strong economy that will handle this, you need somebody as an agent of transformation. I Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is that agent that can bring the transformation that we need, that will start the first rung of the ladder that will lead Nigeria to greatness. I will not bore you because of the time limit. I have been here as a substantive President working with a very competent Vice_President for just eight months and within these eight months, we have set an agenda, that you all can testify. Let me hint at just few.Take the energy sector. Before Before this time Nigerians sleep at the filling stations to buy fuel. (applause) before this time, if you go to Borno, you buy fuel at different price, you go to Lagos you buy at different price, you go to Aba different price, now nobody sleeps in any filling station.

The price of fuel is uniform across the country. You go to the power sector, it is a major challenge and we are handling it. And those of you who listened to our power sector road map that we want to involve the private sector. This is a reform that was on ground before we took over, we did not initiate it but we now said we must implement it and we promised Nigerians that we will implement it to the letter and even now there are significant improvements.On education, you are all aware of the presidential special meeting that I initiated. We resolved a number of issues, we discussed a number of issues, a special technical committee was inaugurated and they are working on the details. We have also strengthened the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.There is a plan and programme of government that every state must get a federal university. I did not initiate it, but so far it has not been implemented.

We realize that so many States especially from the northern parts of this country are yet to get and I felt that is injustice. And that is why this administration decided to establish nine new universities to make sure that we reduce the number of States yet to get universities and by God’s grace in the next two years every state must get a small model federal university. We must make sure that we bring development to everybody. In some states there are two degree awarding institutions while some States don’t even have one. It is injustice and we are set to correct every wrong thing that have been going wrong. We have worked out the resources, it is not from the line budget and the universities will take off.The health sector, we are working on setting up six zonal center of excellence (hospitals) working with the private sector. It is not going to be funded by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government is only going to facilitate it, we are going to work with the diaspora people and already we are dialoging. Nigerians have a lot of expertise in medicine, be it medical doctors, pharmacists, technologists, working in Europe, America and the rest of the world and every day we lose so much money in capital flight going to other countries to treat ailments that we can easily treat, that we have the competence to treat, but just because most of our experts are outside the country or the required equipment are not available and that must stop.Within the past eight months that we have been on board, we have set giant strides that will tell Nigerians that in 24 months the results will be very obvious.The rail sector, we are looking at it, the aviation sector you know that we have worked hard and now at every airport in Nigeria is covered by the radar system. In 2008 or so an aircraft disappeared around Calabar in Cross River State and there were so many rumours. We couldn’t know what happened to that aircraft. That thing is now a thing of the past, it will no longer happen in this country.We don’t pray for aviation accident, but wehre it happens the record should be clear because every part of this country has been covered by the radar system. And we have earned the American Civil Aviation Authority Category One and that means that Nigerian airports are safe for operation.

On Niger Delta, a number of issues were raised by some other contributors, members of this party, those who want to be the President just as I want you to vote for me, but I will not join issues (applause). I will not join issues becaue I believe that Nigerians and especially all the delegates know all of us. They know our history, they know our competences, and they will select whosoever they like. But one thing that you can also appreciate that even the challenges in the Niger Delta, if we had not addressed them, the oil price and the production would not have reached the maximum.Everybody knows, so what are we telling Nigerians?

The production dropped to less than one third, but now we can produce more than the OPEC quota. What caused it, and you are saying that there is no security in the Niger Delta? (Applause)Let me assure Nigerian jobs that we are going to create jobs, we are going to create employment, there are funds made available for the industries to take off, we must revolutionise agriculture to ensure that employment generation is a major event that we must take on.I will give this country a strong, strong leadership to transform us, to be a great nation in the nearest future. Dear delegates, I thank all of you for your patience, I thank all of you for listening to me and assure you that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Arc. Nnamadi Sambo will never, never, let you down. Thank you all.
 

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