Greets Gowon at 83
From Ndubuisi Orji,Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has opened up on how he lost the 2015 presidential poll.
Jonathan said prominent Nigerians joined his detractors to propagate falsehood against his adminstration.
He said those opposed to him during his five-year tenure as president, in their desperate bid to get him out of office, elevated lies and propaganda to a professional level.
Jonathan stated this in Abuja, yesterday, when he received a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairmanship aspirant, Professor Tunde Adeniran, in his office.
The former president said at the inception of his presidency in 2010, his administration discovered that the country’s economy was challenged and took measures to address the challenges.
He said one of the measures adopted by his administration to address the economic challenges was the removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012.
However, Jonathan noted that apart from barefaced lies and pernicious propaganda against the PDP led government, his detractors also hired people to oppose the policy.
“From 2010, the economy was challenged and we needed to do some things, but, we decided to wait until after the 2011 election. It was after the election that we wanted to deregulate because it was very clear one of the problems was the issue of subsidy. We discovered that it was being abused and we set up forensic auditors. They brought me a report that we are going to save about N40 billion (from deregulation).
“These people hired all kinds of people and came against us. We raised the pump price from N67 to N97. That time, the global price of crude oil was going for over $100, but, when the price of oil dropped to about $70 per barrel, we reduced pump price from N97 to N87 and they attacked us; that it should have been lower.”
Jonathan wondered why those who attacked his government have kept quiet “now that the pump price of fuel is N145.”
The former president noted that a former governor, who now serves as a minister in the All Progressive Congress (APC) administration had dismissed his government as unserious.
He recalled that the former governor had said a serious government would fix the power problem in the country within six months, but, ironically, the said former governor has been serving as a minister in a “serious” government, for about two years now, “and they have not been able to fix the power issue and other national challenges.”
The former president added that in spite of the lies against his government, “there is no doubt that the PDP did very well during its 16 years rule.
“Those who were giving us all kinds of names, what have they done? Jonathan queried.
Speaking on the forthcoming national convention of the party, Jonathan said the contest for the national chairmanship this year appears the keenest in the history of the PDP.
He said the opposition party needs a very competent and courageous national chairman, who can lead it to victory in 2019.
The former president added that if the party gets it right in its choice of leaders in the convention slated for December, winning the 2019 general elections would be easy.
“We need a very competent and courageous chairman. As an opposition party, you have to be courageous. The kind of chairman we need is like a general who will lead the troops to battle; not a chairman who will sit at home and be drinking champagne or wine.
“We must do the right thing. We must elect a chairman who will run the party democratically, lead us to victory and sustain that victory,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jonathan has felicitated with former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon on his 83rd birthday.
Jonathan describing Gowon as an icon of peace and unity.
The former president, in a goodwill message he personally signed, recalled that Gowon led Nigeria at a very crucial time in its history and “strengthened the bond that held our nation together.”
“As a statesman and nationalist, you have remained an inspiring figure and a moral conscience of the nation, because of your integrity and ethical disposition to Nigeria’s growth and development.”